Children can get severe burns by pulling things off the stove

The scenario pictured above is incredibly easy to recreate in your own home. All that you have to do is leave a pot simmering on the stove, with the pot's handle sticking out where a child can reach up and grab it. The child dumps a quart or a half-gallon of boiling liquid over his/her body and is covered in severe burns.

Children like to imitate adults, and children are curious. So if a child sees you holding the pot's handle and stirring, the child wants to play too. When you step away, the child's natural instinct is to reach up and grab the handle... with disasterous results.

A smaller scale version of this same scenario can happen after you pour yourself a hot mug of tea or coffee. If you leave the cup on the edge of the counter or a table where a child can reach up and grab it, then the child ends up with a cup of boiling liquid poured over his/her head and body.

This article shows another way:

    Meily rolled across the kitchen and pulled a cord dangling from the kettle. The boiling contents doused her body, burning her severely. Meily spent 10 days in intensive care and almost died of an infection related to the burn. She has to wear special burn bandages for at least a year and will be scarred for life.

Steps you can take

  • NEVER leave a pot handle on the stove within reach of a child. Turn pot handles inward. Cooking on back burners is a prudent step to take if you have young, curious children under foot.

  • NEVER leave the cord of a kitchen appliance dangling over the counter where a child can reach it and pull.

  • Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen if you have something cooking on the stove.

  • Be conscious of the fact that children like to reach up and grab things from the edge of tables and counters. Anything you leave there is fair game for a child. Always place things back away from the edge, where a child cannot see or reach them.

  • Do not use tableclothes. A child can easily grab a tablecloth and pull.

  • Teach your child early that the oven and stove are not toys.

  • See also the article on Oven Burns.

Additional Resources

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