Burn Prevention

More than 70% of burn injuries happen at home. Experts at the UNM Burn Center—available 24/7—treat all types of burns that can happen at home.

Use these tips to prevent common burn accidents around the house and outdoors.

Around the House

  • Keep matches and lighters in a high, locked cupboard.
  • Discuss fire hazards with your children. Teach them that matches and lighters are not toys.
  • Place floor heaters at least four feet away from furniture, curtains and bedding.
  • Never place anything on top of an electrical heater or heater vent.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries every six months.
  • Replace your smoke detectors every eight to 10 years.
  • Make a fire escape plan with a safe meeting place outside.
  • Practice your plan each month.

In the Kitchen

  • Keep a functional fire extinguisher in the kitchen (and garage).
  • Contain grease fires with baking soda or flour, not water. Water can make a grease fire worse.
  • Turn pot handles turned away from the edges of the stove. If possible, cook on the back burners.
  • Coil appliance cords to prevent a child from pulling on them.
  • Make the kitchen a “no zone” for children while cooking.
  • Do not eat or drink hot food while holding a child.
  • Do not use tablecloths around small children—they can pull the cloth, spill hot food on themselves.
  • Do not let small children remove food or drinks from a microwave.

In the Bathroom

  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or less.
  • Before bathing a child, stir the bath water with your hand to avoid hot spots. If the water is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for the child.
  • Stay with your child at all times near the tub or shower. It only takes a second for a child to turn on the hot water.
  • Use only gasoline in combustion engines.
  • Do not use gasoline as a cleaning agent.
  • Do not use gasoline to start fires, woodstoves or barbeques.
  • Store gasoline and other flammable liquids out of the reach of children.
  • Do not smoke in bed or in any residential building.
  • Put cigarettes out all the way before leaving a room.
  • Never throw a lit cigarette into bushes or grass. Dropped lit cigarettes are the leading cause of fire-related deaths.
  • Cover unused electrical sockets with plastic socket protectors.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in or near showers or bathtubs.
  • Get rid of loose or frayed appliance cords.
  • Do not overload outlets.
  • Do not place cords under carpets or walkways to avoid damaging the cord.
  • Be careful with halogen light bulbs. They emit intense heat, up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. Bulbs stay hot long after they have been turned off.
  • Seek shelter as soon as you see lightning. As many as 100 people die each year in the U.S. from lightning strikes.

Seek Expert Burn Care

UNM Burn Center is the only 24/7 burn center in New Mexico. We care for adult and pediatric burn patients.

Contact Us

Located within the hospital:
Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Located within the hospital:
Surgical Specialty Clinic, 2nd Floor [PDF]
Albuquerque, NM 87106