Important Facts About Burn Injuries
Every year, industrial and other accidents lead to people suffering serious burn injuries requiring medical treatment. When another person’s or company’s negligence causes a person to suffer burn injuries, the burn injury victim may have a right to compensation. North Carolina law forces at-fault parties who cause burn injuries to compensate victims for medical damages, pain and suffering, and other damages. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury in North Carolina, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC as soon as possible to schedule your free, initial consultation.What You Need to Know About North Carolina Burn Injuries
Persons injured in fire-related accidents may suffer three distinct types of burn injuries— first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are considered the mildest in terms of severity, usually only affecting the top layer of a burn victim’s skin. Second-degree burns, by contrast, can damage a burn victim’s top two layers of skin. Second-degree burns can be extremely painful and can cause calluses and blisters.
Third-degree burns are the most severe burns, and these injuries can char all layers of skin to the point that the affected area can become numb and blackened. Third-degree burns can require extensive medical treatment, including skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries.Facts About Burn Injuries in Children
Unfortunately, thousands of children in the United States suffer serious burn injuries every year. In fact, unintentional burn injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages fourteen (14) and younger. Fires and burn injuries cause nearly 3,500 child and adult deaths every year. Sadly, seventy-five (75)-percent of burn injuries in children involve entirely preventable scalding incidents. Statistics show that children are more likely to suffer scalding and fire-related burn injuries than adults.
Contact burns and scalding injuries cause the majority of burn injuries requiring hospitalization to children under the age of four (4) years. Hospitalizations and deaths caused by scalding often involve hot liquids such as hot tap water or bath water. According to Stanford University Children’s Health, the following risk factors make burn injuries in children more likely:
- For children under the age of five (5) years, flames serve as the most common cause of burn injuries. Children in this age group most often suffer burn injuries while playing with matches; playing with flames in fireplaces, barbeque pits, and trash bins; and while playing with cigarette lighters;
- Scalding injuries to children under the age of five (5) most often occur in the kitchen or the bathroom. Hot bath water is a leading cause of scalding injuries among children under the age of five (5) years. Child abuse, neglect, and a lack of proper supervision are often precursors to bathtub-based burns suffered by children in this age group. Most burn injuries suffered by toddlers younger than three (3) years are caused by scalding liquids;
- Flames are the most common cause of burn injuries to children between the ages of five (5) and ten (10) years. Playing with fire is a common source of injury to children in this age group, although scalding injuries from hot water also pose a significant risk;
- Adolescent burn injuries often stem from the use of flammable products such as fireworks and gasoline. Electrical burns are also common among adolescents. Children in this age range are known to undertake daring behaviors such as climbing antennas or utility poles, where touching an electrical source can cause serious electrical burn injuries.
During the last thirty (30) years, the annual number of burn injuries in the United States has decreased, largely due to the adoption of certain prophylactic behaviors. The following factors can significantly decrease the risk of burn injuries in people of all ages:
- Using smoke detectors in homes and places of business;
- Regulating flammable toys and pajamas;
- Monitoring fire safety in the workplace;
- Placing an emphasis on injury and fire-safety prevention;
- Installing water heaters that are pre-set at lower temperatures to prevent scalding injuries.
The way in which healthcare providers treat burn injuries depends on the location and severity of the burns. First-degree burns often do not require medical treatment. However, second and third-degree burns often require medical treatment, including the following:
- Running cold water over the burned area for fifteen (15) to thirty (30) minutes;
- Removing any clothing, jewelry, or other items that may irritate the area of the burn;
- Placing a sterile, clear bandage or cloth over the burned area to reduce the risk of infection;
- Refraining from placing any ice, cream, or other objects on the burn until after a medical professional has examined it;
- Visiting a medical professional as soon as possible after sustaining a burn injury.