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December 14, 2011

7 Ways to Protect your Family This Holiday Season; Candles Pose the Biggest Risk

West Hills, Calif. - The Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. The holidays are a time for making new memories with family and friends; cozy fires in the fireplace, Christmas trees and ornaments with colorful lights, candlelit ambiance and special holiday meals and baked goods.

Each year during the holiday season fires injure thousands of people and cause millions of dollars in damage. Keep your memories happy – keep your family and home safe during the holidays.

"Candles are the number one cause of burn injury during the holidays when loose or baggy clothing accidentally rests near or on a candle," said Dr. Peter Grossman. "Children are curious by nature and the excitement of the holidays increases their risk of getting burned. And, because a child’s skin is thinner than an adult’s, it takes less heat and time to increase the severity of a burn," said Dr. Peter Grossman.

Taking steps to keep your home safe during the holiday season is crucial. Here are seven tips to protect your family from burn-related injuries:

1. Keep burning candles in a secure place and out of reach of young children. Do not leave candles unattended or near flammable materials. Place candles in a non-tip candle holder away from children and pets. Make sure to extinguish before leaving the room. Battery-operated flameless candles are a safer alternative.

2. Create a safe kitchen zone. Keep pot handles and electrical appliance cords out of reach of children. Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing when cooking and use potholders.

3. Practice Christmas tree safety. Place your tree at least 3 feet away from a heat source such as fireplace or heat vent. When buying a live Christmas tree, choose one that is fresh and green. Give the trunk a fresh cut and keep the tree stand filled with water so the tree stays green longer.

4. Choose safe lights. Make sure all indoor and outdoor lights have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Don’t overload electrical outlets and do not use any with cracked lights, frayed cords, or damaged sockets. Unplug lights at bedtime and when leaving the house. Lights can get hot enough to burn or ignite other decorations, or they may short and cause an electrical fire.

5. Choose safe decorations. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heating vents. Never place trimming near open flames or electrical connections. Do not burn wrapping paper in a fireplace as it can result in a large fire throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.

6. Practice safe home heating. Only use heating equipment that has been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory and place in an area with a 3 foot clearance. Never use gas or kerosene heater inside your home or attempt to heat a structure with a device designed for outdoor use. Before using your fireplace, have your chimney inspected by a professional for blockages, cracks, leaks, or creosote build-up. Make sure to open flue for adequate ventilation and always use a fire screen. Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace.

7. Avoid using tablecloths and table runners around young children. This will help prevent children from pulling on the fabric and spilling hot liquids or foods.

Practice Fire Safety. Be prepared. Test all smoke detectors and install fresh batteries every six months. Make an escape plan so everyone in the family knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Even when precautions are taken, sometimes accidents happen. It’s important to know what to do in the case of a burn.

First aid for minor burns

Minor burns are defined as those that cover a small area, less than 3 inches in diameter.
Do:

  • Apply cold water immediately for approximately 15 minutes. This helps lessen the pain and stops the heat from penetrating deeper.
  • Protect the area from heat (sun) and dirt.
  • Wash wound gently with mild soap and water, especially if it has blistered and burst.

Do not:

  • Apply butter or grease as this can cause infection.
  • Use ice as this can cause further damage to the wound.
  • Break blisters as this makes blisters more vulnerable to infection.

Seek emergency medical assistance:

  • For children less than two years of age who suffered a burn.
  • When a burn wound is larger than 3 inches in diameter.

In addition, seek medical care immediately if a burn results in increased pain, redness, swelling or fever.

About Grossman Burn Center:
Founded in 1969 by Dr. A. Richard Grossman, the Grossman Burn Center is the largest plastic surgery-based burn practice in the western United States. Headquartered in West Hills, CA, with facilities in Santa Ana, CA, Bakersfield, CA, Lafayette, LA, and Phoenix, AZ, the Grossman Burn Center is in the midst of a national expansion and has plans to open additional burn centers throughout the country. The Grossman Burn Center is renowned for its expertise in providing acute and reconstructive burn care, rehabilitation, and post-treatment emotional and psychological support. It has received global recognition for its treatment of some of the most difficult and high profile burn cases in the world. For more information: www.grossmanburncenter.com.

About West Hills Hospital & Medical Center:
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is a full-service acute care facility located in West Hills, CA, in the western San Fernando Valley. The 225 bed facility recently completed an $80 million expansion that includes a new Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Outpatient Services, Cardiac Catheterization Labs, The Grossman Burn Center and facility renovations. West Hills Hospital was the first Accredited Chest Pain Center in Los Angeles County, and also recently received a Certificate of Distinction as a Primary Stroke Center from the Joint Commission. Additionally, West Hills Hospital was awarded Center of Excellence status from Medicare for our Bariatric Surgery program. For more information: www.WestHillsHospitalca.com.

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