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Firefighters aim to prevent burns

Firefighters with Nanaimo Fire Rescue will visit students and educate families during the B.C. Professional Firefighter’s Burn Fund 17th annual Burn Awareness Week.

“It’s important to us that we get the message out to families with young kids,” said Nanaimo firefighter Greg Finstad, local representative of the B.C. Burn Fund. “The majority of burns to children are preventable.”

Burn Awareness Week was created to teach kids to be responsible for their own safety, and help make their families aware of potentially harmful situations.

Teachers, caregivers, parents and grandparents can access the Burn Awareness Week program online, which includes safety tip information, activity sheets, quizzes, colouring pages, and animated videos aimed at children pre-school aged to Grade 7.

“Scalds from hot liquids are still the number one cause of burn injury to children under the age of six,” Finstad said. “These injuries are happening to kids in their own homes, in their kitchens and bathrooms, and simply educating parents can be all it takes to prevent kids from dealing with these injuries.”

Parents can help protect their children by following these simple guidelines:

*  Keep hot liquid containers away from the edge of tables and counters, and avoid using table cloths that can be pulled down by toddlers;

* Never eat or drink hot food and beverages when holding a child, and make sure they do not get in your path when carrying such items;

* Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove, and cook on the rear burners whenever possible;

* Immediately tend a burn for 10-15 minutes with cool, running water.  Don’t use ice, and don’t use butters or creams – these just trap in heat;

* Turn cold water taps on first, then carefully add warm water to adjust temperature;

* Always test bath water before getting in, sit your child with their back to the faucet, and never leave them unattended near the bathroom;

* Keep matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight.

Today (Feb. 7) Nanaimo firefighters will be hosting a free workshop for early childhood educators on the “Too Hot For Tots” program.

Designed by nurses from the Burn unit in B.C. Children’s Hospital, the program is designed to help childcare professionals educate families with young children on the hazards and prevention of burn injuries.

“Hopefully we can help as many local families as possible keep their children from living through a potentially life changing and preventable injury,” Finstad said.

For anyone interested in this free workshop, please e-mail Finstad at gregory.finstad@nanaimo.ca.

Students are also encouraged to participate in the annual Burn Awareness Week Poster Contest.

More information on the contest and Burn Awareness Week can be found at www.burnfund.org.

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