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URMC / Burn & Trauma Center / Safety and Prevention

Safety and Prevention

We don't want anyone to suffer and endure the pain caused by major burns and traumatic injuries. That's why we spend the time to educate children and adults about how to avoid burns and injuries. We believe that knowledge is the key to prevention.

Safety for Kids of Rochester

In Monroe County, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in infants, children, and teenagers. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids is the first program in Upstate New York developed to better identify where and why these accidents occur, and help prevent them. Learn more about the Injury Free Coalition for Kids.

Safety Tips to Avoid Burn and Trauma Injuries

Often times, traumatic injuries and accidents are unavoidable. However, many injuries occur each year that could be prevented by following some simple safety tips. Be informed and be safe.

How to Prevent Burns in Your Home

Fires in the home can be devastating. Even if no one is hurt, the loss of personal and family items creates another kind of pain. Fortunately, by taking a few simple precautions, you can do a great deal to prevent fires and burns. Here are some important safety tips for each area of your home.


  • Don't leave the room when something is cooking on the stove.
  • Keep children away from the stove when you're cooking.
  • Keep your oven and stovetop clean.
  • Don't put anything flammable near the stove (e.g., towels, aerosol cans, pot holders, etc.).
  • Put pots and pans on the back burners and turn the handles inward so that they don't stick out.
  • Roll up your sleeves when cooking.
  • Turn off the stove if you have to reach above the flame.
  • Use only microwave-safe containers in the microwave.
  • Don't microwave baby bottles.
  • Keep hot drinks away from children.
  • Don't put hot food on tables with a tablecloth or placemat if children can pull these off the table.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach.


  • Turn your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Don't use electrical items (e.g., hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, radios) near a sink or tub of water.
  • Test bath water before putting your child in the tub. Use your wrist or elbow and not your hand.

Fireplaces and Heaters

  • Keep space heaters 3 feet away from flammable items such as rugs, pillows, and window treatments.
  • Don't leave the room with the space heater on.
  • Refuel kerosene heaters outside only, with kerosene only, when the unit is cool.
  • Use a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace.
  • Don't have rugs, papers, or wood near the fireplace or wood stove.
  • Hire a professional to inspect and clean your chimney every year.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in a convenient spot.
  • Throw ashes only into metal cans.


  • Don't allow anything to touch the hot water heater or furnace.
  • Clean and inspect the dryer lint trap after each load of laundry.
  • If your basement gets flooded, turn off electrical circuits before getting your feet wet.

Garage and Grill

  • Don't keep gasoline anywhere near your house. It should be only in an UN-attached garage or shed.
  • Fill gas motors outside only.
  • Don't start your lawnmower or snow blower near the gas container or fumes.
  • Don't put gasoline on a grill.
  • Don't add lighter fluid to a lit fire.
  • Use gas grills only outside.
  • Make sure you have water or sand nearby to put out a fire.

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Child Safety in the Home

  • Keep bleach, ammonia, and cleaning supplies out of children’s reach; they can be very poisonous. Poison Control Center.
  • Keep all medications and vitamins out of children's reach. Poison Control Center.
  • Get down to your child’s eye level and look for potential safety hazards.
  • Don’t use baby walkers with wheels.
  • Keep window blind cords wrapped up and out of reach.
  • Review our burn prevention tips.
  • Don’t leave a baby on a changing table; stay at the side of the table while changing diapers.
  • Buckle the belts on highchairs and strollers.
  • Keep chairs, cribs, beds, and furniture away from windows.
  • Don’t play on the stairs. Remove objects from the stairs.
  • Prevent falls.

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Car Safety Tips

  • Never drink alcohol and drive. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention, drinking alcohol is a factor in 49% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Children under 12 should sit in the backseat.
  • Children ages 4, 5, and 6, riding in any seating position of a motor vehicle are required to be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system. Children between 40-80 pounds should be in a booster seat.
  • Babies should face the rear until 1 years old and 20 pounds.
  • Don’t put rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag.
  • Follow both the car seat manufacturer’s and the car’s manual to be sure to properly install the car seat.
  • Call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline at (800) 424-9393 to see if there are any recalls or safety notices about your car seat.
  • Attend a free car seat check.
  • When operating a motorcycle, be sure to wear a helmet and the proper clothing. Also, make sure that the motorcycle's headlights are always on while driving.
  • Buckle Up America

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Water Safety

  • Don’t leave children alone in a bathtub, pool, or standing water (including buckets and toilets).
  • Don’t rely on inflatable toys, bubbles, rings, rafts, or floaties to prevent drowning.
  • Put high fences around pools and hot tubs.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when boating.
  • Sign up children for swimming lessons.

Fire Prevention

  • Install smoke detectors on every floor of your house and make sure to check the batteries on a regular basis.
  • Be careful when cooking. Keep the handles of pots and pans turned in toward the center of the stove so that they can't be knocked or pulled over. Don't wear loose clothing when cooking, so that it doesn't catch fire. If grease catches on fire, carefully cover the pan with lid to smother the flames, then turn off the burner. Never put foil or other metals in a microwave oven.
  • Never leave space heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.
  • Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs.
  • Never smoke in bed or when you are sleepy. You should use large, deep ashtrays for smokers and put butts out with water before throwing them away.
  • If there's a fire and you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest safe exit.

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General Safety Tips

Chemical Safety

  • Read directions and follow warnings on all household cleaning products, garden products, insecticides, and other household chemicals.
  • Keep all household chemical products in their original labeled containers.
  • Never mix cleaning products together; deadly fumes may be released.

Cords and Wires

  • Keep cords away from children.
  • Keep cords away from water.
  • Never allow an electrical appliance or its cord to come in contact with water.
  • Don't use an appliance that smells funny or produces smoke.
  • Replace damaged cords.
  • Don't put too many plugs into one outlet or use more than two extension cords.
  • Don't place cords under rugs.
  • Keep flammable items away from light bulbs.

Family Fire Escape Plan

  • Create a fire escape plan. Make sure it explains how you'll exit the house and where you'll meet.
  • Find two ways to get out of each room.
  • Plan a safe way to get to the ground from every room.
  • Pick a meeting place at a safe distance from the house, such as a neighbor's house or mailbox. Plan to gather there if you've had to escape from a fire.
  • Practice the plan. Hold family fire drills twice a year.
  • For tips on how to create a family fire escape plan, visit the Red Cross site or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security site.

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