by The Republican Newsroom Sunday August 02, 2009, 5:00 PM
File photo by Don Treeger / The RepublicanState Fire Marshall Stephen D. Coan, seen here last month in Holyoke, says preschoolers are eight times more likely to suffer a scald than any other age group.
By PATRICK JOHNSON
A report issued by the state fire marshal’s office shows more than a third of all serious burns reported in Massachusetts last year were scald injuries from hot liquids and more than half of these were to children under the age of 5.
Based on the report, preschoolers are eight times more likely to suffer a scald than any other age group, according to Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan.
“The leading burn problem in the state is a preventable one,” Coan said.
The annual report of the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System issued last week shows that scalding, and not fire, was the leading cause of burn injuries statewide for the 24th consecutive year.
Thirty-six percent, or 159, of the 438 burns reported were caused by cooking accidents involving boiling liquids or grease, the report showed. Other common scald injuries are from spilled hot drinks, household water heaters set too high or from overheated car radiators.
According to the report, 21 percent of burns were from fires, and another 21 percent were caused when a person came into contact with a flame. Sixty-six percent of burn injuries took place in a residence.
The fire marshal and state Department of Public Health are required to keep track of all burn injuries affecting more than 5 percent of the injured person’s body.
Coan recommends that toddlers be placed in high chair when the adult is preparing or drinking hot coffee or tea. Also, he advises that pot handles should be turned inward toward the stove when cooking.
He also recommends parents use place mats instead of table cloths with small children. This prevents the child from pulling on the tablecloth and spilling hot food or beverages on themselves, he said.