Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (Feb. 6, 2023)  —  You are cooking something delicious for dinner tonight with your family.

After pouring all the ingredients into a pot or pan, you heat the food on the stove. Unfortunately, kids love horsing around and playing games using whatever they can find.

So, one of them grabs the lighter hanging off the counter and, fiddling with it, accidentally burns themselves with it.

Now, you are in trouble because you did not put the lighter in a safe place where the kids cannot reach it.

Sadly, such cases of people accidentally burning themselves or setting something on fire are common in America.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, it takes only 60 seconds for someone to burn themselves to such a degree that requires immediate medical treatment.

The West Chester Fire Company, located on Bradford Ave., states on its electronic billboard that there have been 640 fire calls made to the business in 2022 alone.

The National Institute of Health also declares that 400,000 hospital patients and more than 3,200 confirmed deaths are from burn-related injuries annually.

While a burn is painful, how one should treat it depends on how severe it is.

A first-degree burn only affects the upper layer of the skin, commonly known as the epidermis. So, the worst that can happen is that the inflamed area becomes red but heals over time.

In the event of a first-degree burn, a cold compress or ice pack or even running the burn area under cold water is all you need to use as a remedy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends leaving it in cold water for about three to five minutes.

When someone has a second-degree burn, the inflammation can reach down to the dermis, the second layer of your skin. Blisters may form as a result, and the pain can be severe.

Do the same routine as dealing with a first-degree burn, except, after letting it dry, apply the wound with a gauze pad. Never break any blisters when treating a person with second-degree burns because they can cause infections and are considered “open wounds.”

Never put any “butter, creams, ointments or sprays” onto the wound, as it will make healing challenging.

Getting third-degree burns is a different story, however. It ultimately reaches into the hypodermis, the third and final layer of your skin consisting of fat and tissue. In addition, it can destroy a nerve in your body, essentially numbing the pain.

You can see the flesh burned and the skin open outside of your body. The Boy Scouts of America recommends that, after calling the emergency number, you never put any “creams, ointments or sprays” on the wound as well; instead, you “wrap a clean cloth around the injury and treat the person for shock until professional medical help arrives.”

If the injury is either a second-degree (partial-thickness) or third-degree (full-thickness) burn, the BSA also requests that you must follow these steps:

“Step 1Take a moment before doing anything to size up the situation, and then decide what to do.

Step 2Approach with care so you don’t become a burn victim yourself.

Step 3If a person must be moved away from a source of heat, do so only if you will not put yourself at risk.

Step 4Treat hurried cases of stopped breathing or heartbeat and severe bleeding, and keep the victim’s airway open. Then treat the burn itself.

Step 5Get immediate medical treatment for the victim if the burns:

  • Cause trouble breathing.
  • Might have injured the airway (for example, if the mouth and nose have been burned).
  • Affect the head, neck, hands, feet or groin.
  • Are third-degree (full-thickness) burns.
  • Are the result of chemicals, explosions or electricity.”

In the kitchen, FEMA, meanwhile, recommends you do the following, especially with children present:

  • “Place objects so that they cannot be pulled down or knocked over.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge.
  • Use dry oven mitts or potholders. Hot cookware can heat moisture in a potholder or hot pad, resulting in a scald burn.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Have a ‘kid-free zone’ of at least 3 feet around the stove.”

This way, you can enjoy cooking your favorite foods for dinner without worrying about anyone playing with fire. Safety always comes first!

Benjamin Slomowitz is a fourth-year Media & Culture student.



  • “Burn and Scald Prevention Outreach Materials.” U.S. Fire Administration, 13 Jan. 2022, 
  • “Burn Awareness.” NFPA,
  • “Burns.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Aug. 2022, 
  • Evans, Christopher S, et al. “Burn Related Injuries: A Nationwide Analysis of Adult Inter-Facility Transfers over a Six-Year Period in the United States.” BMC Emergency Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 16 Aug. 2022, 
  • “First Aid.” Scout: The Boy Scout Handbook: A Guide to Adventure, a Guide for Life, 12th ed., Boy Scouts of America, Irving, TX, 2009, pp. 122–177. Boy Scout Handbook. 
  • “First-Degree Burn.” First-Degree Burn | Boston Children’s Hospital, 


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