By Cpl. Im Jin-minApril 14, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Army Community Service workers are seeing an increase in the number of child burn cases. Most incidents are due to Korean water dispensers -- commonplace in off-post apartments. They dispense hot and cold water on demand.
"We keep seeing parents who are new to Korea have their children get burned," said Margaret Rice, family advocacy specialist. "Some parents have never used a water cooler before. Parents must be aware to keep their family members safe from such accidents."
Infants or toddlers who reach up and touch the faucet levers may cause hot water to gush out and injure them.
"Last year there were 14 pediatric patients with burns and six of those were hot water burns from a water cooler," said Maj. Jay Baker, officer-in-charge of the 121st Combat Support Hospital emergency room. "Four of the children were under the age of 2."
Baker said while first or second degree burns generally heal without a problem, they can be very painful and upsetting for the children.
"Sometimes it can take multiple visits to the hospital to make sure the wound heals," he said. "The water can also reach the eyes and cause permanent injury."
Rice said there are two ways such burns can be prevented. First, parents may fix safety valves onto the water coolers.
"Parents can get the safety valves from their real estate agents who are responsible for supplying them for off post housing," she said. "Ask for one if you have not received any."
As for community members living on post, they may request safety valves from the water company servicing the machine, she said.
Burns from water dispensers can be also be prevented by simply turning off the hot water system.
"If you don't need hot water, you may also ask the water company to disconnect it entirely, or there may be a button on the machine that can switch the heating system off," Rice said.
Aca,!A"When a burn has occurred, it is not advised to put butter, oil or ice on the burns,Aca,!A? Baker said. Aca,!A"Instead, if itAca,!a,,cs a hand or leg, put the extremity into a cool bowl of water. You can also use wet, cool rags if itAca,!a,,cs on another surface area. If itAca,!a,,cs larger than 2 to 3 centimeters then seek medical care. If itAca,!a,,cs a second or third degree burn or a burn anywhere on the face, you should definitely come see us at the emergency room.Aca,!A?
A second degree burn is when the skins is blistered and reddened. A third degree burn is the most severe with charred skin.
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