Fire Safety & Burn Prevention

There are numerous vetted Fire Safety and Burn Prevention resources available. Learn more on this page, as well as with our partner organizations at:

Household Safety

Smoke Detector
  • Develop and practice a family escape plan
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms
  • Properly maintain home heating equipment
  • Fully extinguish smoking materials
  • Maintain fire extinguishers
  • Never leave candles, stove, or open flame unattended
  • Keep matches/lighters out of the reach of children
  • Store gasoline in a tightly closed, approved container
  • Store gasoline outside the home away from any ignition source
  • Set water heaters at <120F (48C) or just below the medium setting to prevent scald burns

Preventing Burn Injuries in Children

  • Refer to the handout "Preventing Burn Injuries in Children" 

Gasoline Safety

  • Store gasoline in a tightly closed, approved metal or plastic container away from any ignition source
  • Refuel small engines (e.g., lawn mower) only when the engine is cool. Be sure there is no ignition source nearby (e.g., burning leaves, barbecue)
  • Store gasoline outside the home in a separate building (garage or shed)
  • Keep gasoline out of sight and reach of children
  • Never use gasoline as a cleaning agent
  • Do not smoke around gasoline

Scald Burn Safety

  • Check if your hot water heating system has anti-scald, temperature control devices installed.
  • If in an apartment complex, nursing home, or assisted living facility, ask the landlord about temperature control devices and inspect them.
  • Use a master mixing valve (ASSE 1017 approved), point-of-use temperature control device (ASSE 1016 approved) on shower valves, and maximum temperature limits stops on faucets and shower valves.These anti-scald devices can prevent water hotter than 120 F from ever reaching you.
  • Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees F or just below the medium setting. 
  • Make sure the plumbing work has been or is done through the local code official with all the necessary permits and inspections, by a licensed plumber.
  • Make sure maintenance is done on hot water heating systems.
  • Never leave a child alone while drawing water in a bathtub or bathing.
  • Test the water temperature before bathing or showering. Be aware that without proper anti-scald devices, the water temperature can spike to scalding temperature.
  • Place microwaves at a safe height, within easy reach, so all users may avoid spills. The face of the person using the microwave should always be higher than the front of the door. Microwaves installed above counters or stoves can be a scald hazard for anyone.
  • Steam, reaching temperatures greater than 200 degrees, builds up rapidly in covered containers heated in the microwave and can easily result in burns to the face, arms and hands. Puncture plastic wrap or use vented containers to allow steam to escape while cooking. Wait at least one minute before removing the cover. When removing covers, lift the corner farthest away from you and away from your face or arm.
  • Microwaved foods and liquids may reach temperatures greater than boiling without the appearance of bubbling. Stir and test food thoroughly before serving or eating.
  • Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge.
  • When removing lids from hot foods, remember that steam may have accumulated. Lift the cover or lid away from your face and arm.
  • Do not hold a child while drinking hot beverages.
  • Place hot beverages on surfaces out of a child's reach.

Sleepwear Safety

Sleepwear Safety
  • Monitor what your child wears to bed. Have your child sleep in flame resistant sleepwear, such as 100% polyester.
  • Do not substitute loose-fitting garments such as t-shirts for correct sleepwear.
  • When purchasing sleepwear, read garment labels carefully. Choose sleepwear with flame-resistant labels/hang-tags and fire-resistant fibers (100% polyester).
  • If you choose non-flame resistant sleepwear, make sure it is snug-fitting. To be "snug-fitting" it must: be almost skin tight; fit tightly at wrists, ankles, and waist; and should fit the child now, not be purchased in a larger size to fit later.
  • Repeated use of liquid fabric softener during washings makes sleepwear more flammable. Dryer sheets have been suggested as a safer softener alternative.
  • Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children. Ideally matches and lighters should be kept in locked cabinets.
  • Teach young children that fire and fire tools are for adults to use.
  • Set a good example by using matches, lighters, and fire carefully. Remind children that candles, fireplaces, and other sources of fire are dangerous.
  • Realize that children may know they should not play with lighters and matches, so they may sneak them into their bedrooms where they can play unnoticed.
  • Install and maintain working smoke detectors throughout your home. A good practice to follow is when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time; change your smoke detector batteries.
  • Teach your child to Stop, Drop, and Roll in case their clothing ever does catch fire. Not only teach them Stop, Drop, and Roll, but practice it often with them.
  • If your child's clothes do catch on fire:
  • Stop, drop, and roll.
  • Remove clothing from the burned area. If the material sticks to the skin, cool it, and leave it alone.
  • Cool the burned area for a short time with cool, not cold water. Never put ice or cold water on a burn. Ice and cold water can make the burn worse.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth. Keep the child warm and calm.
  • Have a fire escape plan for your home. Practice the escape plan with your child.

Best Or Safest Sleepwear Choice

Safe Sleepwear

Garments Labeled As Flame-Resistant, Such As 100% Polyester

Flame Resistant material, such as 100% polyester:

  • Is resistant to ignition by small flames
  • Is more difficult to ignite than untreated cotton
  • Self-extinguishes (fire goes out) after exposure to a small flame
  • Shrinks away from heat sources
  • Flames travel more slowly and cover a smaller area (melts and forms holes rather than immediately producing large flames)
  • Upward flame spread tends to be slow, sparing the face and respiratory system (reducing chance of inhalation injury)
  • Flame resistance does not diminish with repeated laundering
  • Polyester self-extinguishes or stops burning when the flame source is removed, unlike cotton and other natural fibers that are quick to burn and slow to extinguish.

Alternative Sleepwear Choice

Alternative Sleepwear

Non-flame Resistant Snug-fitting Garments

*Meet CPSC standards if snug-fitting, but the Trauma Burn Center recommends wearing flame-resistant sleepwear instead

Non-Flame Resistant materials, including untreated cotton and cotton blends:

  • Ignite at a lower temperature than polyester and other flame resistant fabrics
  • Continue to burn even after ignition source is removed
  • Flames spread rapidly
  • Flames spread upward increasing the risk of burns to the face and inhalation injury
  • Snug-Fitting Garments
  • Reduce the risk of contact with flames
  • Decrease the air between the garment and the child. Air/oxygen is required for flaming.
  • Must fit tightly at wrist, ankle and waist
  • Must be almost skin tight
  • Must be purchased to fit the child now, not large to fit later

Poor Or Least Safe Choice

(does not meet current children's sleepwear standards): loose fitting cotton or cotton-blend garments, such as t-shirts, sweats, sleep shirts, etc.

Poor Sleepwear Choice

Loose fitting cotton or cotton-blend garments:

  • Easily come into contact with flame source
  • Loose fitting parts burn rapidly with relatively large flames