The Surgeon Specialist at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge Hospital), Dr Charles K. Asiedu, has advised children to take precautionary measures any time they are in the kitchen or handle hot substances to avoid accidents which can result in burns.
He said quite a number of children had died as a result of severe burns which could have been easily prevented if care had been taken when they handled or were around hot substances.
In an interview with the Junior Graphic in Accra, Dr Asiedu said one of the commonest ways in which children often sustained burn injuries was through scalds (hot liquids), which included coming into contact with boiling water, oil or heated foods.
He said when those liquids accidentally spilled on children, it could result in serious burns which would sometimes need surgery for the wound to heal completely, adding that surgery was usually expensive and most parents were unable to afford it.
Dr Asiedu pointed out that burns resulting from gas explosions were very serious and warned children against going near gas stoves without the supervision of adults because if the stoves were not operated correctly, leakages could occur and result in explosions.
“Don’t be careless or take things for granted; never play around naked flames such as heated coal pots or in areas where food is prepared because you can step on fire or even fall into a cooking pot which can result in severe burns,” he warned.
He cautioned children against playing with lit match sticks and candles, adding that it was dangerous for children to play with live or exposed electrical wires, as they could sustain serious burn injuries if the electrical materials were faulty.
Another very dangerous place to play, he said, was under high tension poles, since they could be faulty and cause harm to children.
Dr Asiedu noted that certain detergents, such as toilet cleaners, could also cause burns when it was not handled carefully and so it was important that youngsters take precaution when they used such products.
He pointed out that a person’s body surface was considered as 100 per cent and so if 40 per cent of it got burnt, the survival rate of the person became rather low and said it was important to avoid burn injuries.
Dr Asiedu said not only could children die as a result of serious burns; they could also be stigmatised, especially by their peers, because of scars which could make them suffer physically, emotionally and psychologically.
As a first aid measure, the surgeon specialist said if a child accidentally sustained burn injuries, the area had to be soaked in cool water for the pain to subside and then wrapped in clean cloth or foil before reporting at hospital.
He also cautioned against the use of ice on a burn, since that might delay the healing process, adding that a burnt area should not be rubbed because that could increase the blisters.