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Burn Awareness Week: Preventing a Scald Injury

The Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and the American Burn Association (ABA) observe National Burn Awareness Week the first full week in February. It is an opportunity for burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in the community. This year, the ABA’s goal is to educate the public about preventing scald injuries.

Scald injuries are painful and require prolonged treatment. They may result in lifelong scarring and even death. Frequent scald burns may include hot tap water, hot beverages, hot food and steam. “Most burn injuries occur in the person’s home and the vast majority of these injuries can easily be prevented,” says Gerarda Bozinko, R.N., coordinator of the Burn Outreach Program at the Burn Treatment Center.

The medical leadership at the Burn Center, which includes Linwood Haith, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.C.C.M., Mary Lou Patton, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S., F.S.S.O., F.C.C.M., and Robert Guilday, M.D.

“It is possible for anyone to sustain a scald injury; certain age groups are more likely to be at a higher risk. They include infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities. These high risk groups are also more likely to require hospitalization, suffer complications and experience a long recovery,” says Linwood Haith, M.D., medical director of the Burn Treatment Center and chief of Burn Surgery.

Haith suggests some helpful tips for protecting those you care about from scald burns:

  • Supervise young children at all times.
  • Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.
  • Keep hot food and liquids high and out of young children’s reach. 
  • Establish safe hot water temperatures; always test temperature.
  • Protect electric cooking appliances and cords.
  • Cook on the back burners when children are present.

According to the ABA, if a scald injury is received, it is important to follow the following steps: remove the source of the scald; remove affected clothing; cool scalded areas briefly with cool water; cover with a clean, dry covering; do not apply creams, salves or ointments and call 9-1-1.

Cindy Reigart, R.N., clinical nurse director of the Burn Treatment Center, says, “By simple changes in behavior and the home environment, a scald burn can easily be prevented.”

For more information about the Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center, visit

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