Shriners Hospitals for Children Emphasizes Burn Prevention

Shriners Hospitals for Children, which operates the only freestanding hospitals dedicated solely to the treatment of pediatric burns, is determined to decrease the number of preventable pediatric burn injuries by raising awareness.

This concern and commitment was the driving force behind the Shriners healthcare system’s decision more than 20 years ago to promote annual Burn Awareness campaigns. During the first full week of February, public relations efforts are dedicated to Burn Awareness Week, the kickoff of a year-long educational campaign aimed at burn awareness and prevention. At this time, the healthcare system promotes the free educational materials available on its website. The items, including posters, activity books and fact sheets, are designed to be a resource for firefighters, teachers, parents and others concerned with the safety and well-being of children.

While homes are personal “safe havens,” without attention and awareness they can be dangerous places, especially for children. Homes are the sites of thousands of burn injuries to children every year, including scalds and fire-related injuries. Many of these incidents could have been easily prevented by following and implementing basic safety tips.

“At Shriners Hospitals for Children, preventing burn injuries and burn awareness education is an ongoing, year-long effort,” said Peter Armstrong, MD, chief medical officer of Shriners Hospitals for Children. “In 2012, our campaign, ‘Be Burn Aware,’ focuses on teaching children ways to avoid burn injuries at home.”


Child-friendly safety tips

The campaign introduces two new child-friendly characters who showcase and share the safety messages. “Boots” and “Brewster” – a caped bear and a googly eyed teapot, are featured in activity books for children ages 3-7 and 8-12. The characters lead children through the various rooms of a house, pointing out dangers and how to easily correct or avoid them. The coloring pages, word searches, cartoons and other activities are designed to grab children’s attention and present the information in a memorable, age-appropriate manner. The campaign also includes a poster of safety tips. Previous years’ efforts have emphasized prevention of gasoline-related burn and scald injuries. All available materials can be viewed and ordered at

Shriners Hospitals for Children has an excellent relationship with firefighters and is grateful for their efforts to educate the public on fire safety. It is happy to be able to collaborate on burn prevention messages – and its burn awareness materials are always available to them for use and distribution at awareness events, such as health safety fairs and school presentations.

Shriners Hospitals for Children applauds the firefighters’ difficult, courageous work, and ability to rescue and save lives. The work of firefighters is often the first, and most difficult, step in a burn-injured child’s path to recovery, and allows our staff to take the next steps. We invite firefighters to contact and visit our burn hospitals and see the results of their efforts – children recovering.

In 2012, Shriners Hospitals for Children will partner with several organizations to increase the overall potential for reducing the number of burn injuries children sustain every year. These relationships include sponsoring “Trial By Fire: Lives Re-forged,” a documentary that emphasizes fire safety through sharing the personal stories of those who have experienced and overcome serious burn injuries, and working with Blitz USA, especially on its Stop Gas Fire campaign.


Survival rates up

The Shriners Hospitals for Children specializing in burns have been leaders in burn care, research and education since opening in the mid-1960s, and have provided care for more than 50,000 patients. In that same period, the survival rate for children with burns over more than 50% of their body surface has doubled. In addition, today, patients with burns over 90% of their body surface can survive. Thanks to the expert medical care and research provided at these hospitals every year, thousands of children have a greater chance of surviving all types of burn injuries.

As one of the leading pediatric burn care providers in the world, Shriners Hospitals for Children offers the full range of pediatric expertise, rehabilitation services and family-centered resources patients and their families need for the most complete recovery possible. Once patients are ready to return to their homes and communities, Shriners Hospitals for Children helps to ensure a smooth transition through its readjustment and re-entry programs.

The experts at Shriners Hospitals for Children’s burn hospitals in Boston, MA; Cincinnati, OH; Galveston, TX; and Sacramento, CA, know every second counts in the survival and recovery of pediatric burn patients, and offer immediate consultations and quick transfer services. The sooner a child reaches one of the hospitals, the better the chances for a full recovery. Our hospitals can provide everything from immediate assistance for an injured child to educational opportunities, including burn-response training for emergency room staff and other groups. n