Doctors and firefighters have an important message as families with children gather for the holidays - they are warning of a marked increase in pediatric burn patients.
Distractions abound for families who gather around the fireplace, Christmas tree or kitchen over the holidays.
"You're going to have a lot more children potentially in houses, grandparents having families over, people just get so consumed with what's going on and they forget that the little folks are in the house," explained Bobby Drake of the Old Dominion Professional Firefighters Burn Foundation.
They don't expect to end up at the Evans Haynes Burn Center at VCU Medical Center, but many of them do, according to Medical Director Dr. Michael Feldman.
"This is the time of year where we're all at home more and accidents happen," he says.
In fact, they're already happening. In the last six weeks alone, the burn center has seen two more pediatric patients than it did in the same time period the year before. The accident statistics aren't startling, but the devastation experienced through a child's eyes almost always is.
"We have a large influx especially over the last couple weeks of children who have been putting metal objects in electrical outlets and they suffer some bad hand burns from that," Dr. Feldman recalled.
"A young child who had pulled a cup of coffee off the table, the scald burn went down their chin and down their chest," Drake described. "It was a pretty traumatic event for everyone because it was obviously an accident."
Accidents with hot pot handles and space heaters also happen in a moment, but could leave physical and mental scars for a lifetime.
"You just have to make sure that they're protected," Dr. Feldman warned. "They can't protect themselves."
For more information, visit http://odburn.org/education/.
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