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Increase in scalding cases in children in the cold season
Scalding from hot drinks is fundamentally one of the most common serious injuries to children and during the cold season this "high season", warns the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) in a current message.
"These accidents are particularly common in autumn and winter," warns Dr. Ulrich Fegeler, pediatrician in the communication of the professional association of pediatricians with reference to the current figures of the German Society for Combustion Medicine (DGV). "Children often scald themselves while trying to grab a hot drink, a soup plate or a container of hot liquid, pouring hot liquid onto their face, upper body and arms," the expert continued. However, the risk can be minimized with a few simple precautions.
Campaign warns of the risk of scalding
Since children are relatively often victims of burns, the "Safe Tea" campaign was launched in Great Britain, for example, to educate people about the dangers and possible safety measures. In the English language there is even an extra expression for the scalding: "teapot syndrome". In this country, this type of scalding is also called “bib scalding” because of the typical shape of the burns, explains the BVKJ.
How can you protect your child?
The following key messages are mentioned as preventive measures in the English campaign of the Children's Burns Research Center at the University of Bristol:
- Always place hot drinks out of the reach of small children.
- Do not drink hot drinks while a baby is being carried.
- Do not pass hot drinks over the heads of small children.
- In the event of burns, contact the emergency call immediately, cool the burns with cold water (for a maximum of 20 minutes) and then cover the affected area with transparent film.
There is also a high risk of accidents when inhaling over a hot saucepan, because if the vessel tips over, there is a risk of extensive scalding in the lap area, which often also affects the genitals, according to the BVKJ.
How to react in an emergency?
"If a scalding accident does occur, parents should first remove the clothes soaked in the hot water and then cool the injured parts of the body with lukewarm water for about 10-20 minutes," explains Dr. Fegeler. If fabric is stuck to the burn, it usually comes off well in a water bath. If this is not the case, parents can put cold, wet towels on top of it, reports the BVKJ.
Note the risk of hypothermia
"Only newborns and infants, as well as large body surfaces, must not be cooled, as there is a risk that the child may become hypothermic," warns Dr. Even in the case of minor scalds, the children should always be presented to a pediatrician, in the event of major injuries, the emergency services should be contacted immediately and, if necessary, admission to the emergency department of the nearest accessible clinic is necessary. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ): Scalding has "high season" in the cold season (published November 27, 2019), kinderaerzte-im-netz.de
- University of Bristol: Hot drinks are the most common cause of burns to young children (published 16.10.2019), bristol.ac.uk