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Requests for a burn prevention education program aimed at school-age children in fourth through sixth grades was one reason Shriners Burns Hospital in Cincinnati created Kids Informed, Kids Aware Burn Prevention Education. The second reason was that many of the burn cases seen at the hospital were children in this age group.
This is the age when children are beginning to baby-sit or stay home alone when Mom and Dad are out. They go off to camp where there are campfires, and many boys are cutting the grass and have access to gasoline, says Louise Hoelker, RN, MHA, director of volunteers and public relations at Shriners Burns Hospital.
The program comes as a complete package so it can easily be implemented whether in a school classroom or for community outreach at a health care facility. "After talking to a lot of people, we focused on letting kids understand why burns are so harmful. It is a science-based curriculum," says Hoelker. It’s also filled with lots of hands-on activities to help reinforce the lessons provided to this age group.
The program uses sensory and daily life experiences to explain the causes, effects, and prevention of burns caused by flame, scalding liquids or steam, flammable liquids and their vapors, sunburn, contact with hot surfaces, chemicals, and electrical current. The illustrated teaching guide includes chapters on laying the groundwork for burn prevention and teaching on the topic.
"Each chapter has a lot of details," says Hoelker. For example, the curriculum for flame burn prevention covers what fire is, how the fire triangle (fire, oxygen, and an ignition source) must be present for fire to start, what happens when flames burn skin, and how to prevent such burns. The program also has a 30-minute video that follows the lesson so instructors can show portions of the video, such as the section on flame burns, to enhance the lessons.
The curriculum is very interactive so children are involved. Activities for the flame burn prevention lesson include creating an exit plan for the home. Children are given graph paper and a pencil and asked to identify the location of all the smoke detectors and exits in their home and to create a plan to safely exit the house in case of a fire. Another activity breaks the children into small groups where they discuss the habits of young children and the baby-sitters’ role in preventing burns.
To help teach children about flammable liquids and their vapors, imitation vanilla extract and household ammonia are spread lightly on two paper plates, and the children are asked to identify the liquids by smell. "Once it dries, they can still smell the vapors. The lesson helps them understand that the fumes are still there; and if the liquid is flammable, and you come across an ignition source, it will ignite," says Hoelker.
The curriculum also includes real-life examples, and instructors are asked to read the stories and have the children discuss how the burn may have been prevented. For example, one story describes a 5-year-old girl who liked to dress up in her older sister’s clothes. She put on a flowing dress and danced around the living room before a fire burning in a fireplace with no screen. The dress billowed toward the flames.
"With this curriculum, we wanted to address fourth, fifth, and sixth graders but not preach to them. We wanted to give them practical information on why burns are preventable and how they are preventable," says Hoelker.
For more information on Kids Informed, Kids Aware Burn Prevention Education or to order, contact: