State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Massachusetts fire officials announced that Feb. 2-8, is National Burn Awareness Week.

"While we traditionally associate burns with fires, the leading burn injury in Massachusetts is hot liquid scalds to children under 5," said Coan.

Hot Liquid Scalds Leading Cause of Burns

According to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS) 2012 Annual Report, which by law collects injury reports on all burns affecting 5% or more of the victim's body surface area, scalds from cooking liquids and grease, hot liquids, tap water, food and steam caused 46% of the burn injuries reported in 2012. Children under 5 accounted for more than half of all scald burn victims and the majority were injured from hot beverages like coffee, tea and soup.

State Fire Marshal Coan offers these tips to prevent scald burns:

1. Don't hold babies or toddlers while drinking hot coffee or tea. Put your hot beverage down, because a wiggling baby can move your arm and spill the drink.

2. Put drinks and soups toward the center of the table away from curious fingers. Babies like to grab things.

3. Consider replacing tablecloths with place mats to prevent children from pulling everything on the table onto themselves.

4. Create a 3-foot safety zone around the stove and barbecue where children are not allowed, even when no cooking is taking place.

5. Turn pot handles inward over the stove.

6. Constantly supervise a young child in the bathtub.


Place children facing away from faucets, so that they cannot turn on the hot water.

"Treat a burn with cool water; don't use grease, butter, ointments, lotions or fats, because they can make the burn worse. Be sure to call 9-1-1 for medical help for all but the most minor burns," Coan added.

Coan also offers these treatment tips for burns:

1. Remove the victim from the area of danger and call 9-1-1.

2. Treat burns with cool water; never use grease, butter, ointments, lotions, fats or ice.

3. Gently remove any jewelry or watches from the injured area, before it begins to swell.

4. Don't remove any clothing that is sticking to the burn. This could cause further damage and/or infection.

5. Cover the burn with a clean sheet or towel, to protect from infection.

Stop, Drop and Roll

"If fire ignites clothing, it is important to remember to Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll," said Coan. Children should be taught to stop, drop and roll if their clothing is on fire, and older children, adults and seniors must be aware that they can do it in a tight space, by rocking back and forth until the flames are out, or using a blanket or coat to smother the flames.

More Information

More information on burn safety and downloadable pamphlets are is available on line at: and type Burn Prevention in the search box.