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New online course aims to reduce burn injuries in B.C. children


It's Burn Awareness Week and this year's campaign focuses on protecting young children from scalds, which are caused by hot liquids.

According to BC Children's Hospital, about 150 children in the province suffer from burn-related injuries each year. But the BC Professional Firefighters' Burn Fund is aiming to reduce that number through a new and free 30-minute online course called "Too Hot for Tots."

“We’re not seeing the stats change. They’re not dropping like we’d like to see them drop. And there’s just so many simple things a parent or caregiver can do like using a to-go mug. Put a lid on it," said Gayanne Pacholzuk, Burn Fund prevention coordinator and retired firefighter.

Breanna Choo, a mother of four, said such a course would have been helpful for her family years ago.

Her son, Levi, burned his hands touching hot fireplace glass when he was about nine months old and while he's much better now, he still needs care.

“There are times where his hands bother him with the weather change. There are times where he has a fight or flight response and we sometimes often ask ourselves as parents ‘Would this have been different if this injury hadn’t have happened?’” she said, adding that it only took seconds for the damage to be done.

“There’s a lot of knowledge in there that would have been really helpful to know and Levi's accident would have been preventable," Choo said.

She shares her story in hopes that other parents don't go through the same experience.

Dr. Sally Hynes, the burn director at BC Children's Hospital said children five and under are most prone to burn injuries, and that the 150 new cases per year at the hospital only represent a fraction of the overall cases where kids require care.

“Throughout the year, we have about 1000-plus burn-related visits," she said.

“They’re caused typically in the household by things that we encounter every day – like a hot cup of coffee or tea or a bowl of soup. Things that we don’t usually equate with risk to our children," she continued.

While most burns are preventable, experts say not enough people know what to do if their child is injured from a scalding accident.

Hynes said caregivers should remove the wet clothing immediately and rinse the child with cool water.

She also said a little knowledge goes a long way and can prevent a family from life-long trauma. Top Stories

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