Shriners working to educate public on burn injuries

By Staff
Special to The Star
Feb. 9, 2001
A fraternal organization that operates 22 Shiners Hospitals for Children throughout North America is working to educate the public to take extra precautions when selecting infants' and children's sleepwear.
Because past emphasis on flame-resistant sleepwear does not seem as important as it was in the past decades, Shriners Hospitals offer the following tips to help keep children safe:
Children should wear clothing that is specifically designed as sleepwear and labeled "flame resistant" to prevent burn injury or death as a result of fire. Do not allow children to sleep in daywear, such as T-shirts or fleecewear, which are less likely to be flame resistant.
According to Consumer Reports magazine, liquid fabric softeners may have a negative impact on the fire resistance of sleepwear. Their study showed that clothing can become flammable when laundered with liquid fabric softener, increasing the speed at which certain fabrics burned; however, dryer sheets had little effect.
Many children sustain burn injuries in the early morning when they awaken before the adults in the home. Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach from children. A combination of flame-resistant sleepwear and working smoke detectors in the child's room and throughout the home are essential to reduce the risk of injury or death as a result of fire.
Check the smoke detector batteries regularly and replace when needed, or at least annually.
Because Shriners Hospitals treat pediatric patients, the Shrine's focus is on preventing burns among children. Young children face greater risks from burn injuries than do adults and older children, and it is up to the adults in the home to follow safety precautions and keep children from harm.
Known as the experts in pediatric burn care, Shriners Hospitals operate four burn hospitals in Galveston, Cincinnati, Boston and Sacramento.
Through intensive research and state-of-the-art clinical care, a burned child's chance of survival has more than doubled since the Shiners first opened the burn hospitals in the mid-1960s. Much of today's research now focuses on improving the quality of life for burn survivors.
The 22 Shriners hospitals provide orthopedic and burn care totally free of charge to children up to their 18th birthday. The hospitals were founded by the Shrine of North America, an international fraternity with about 530,000 members in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
The Shriners are offering a booklet on burn prevention free of charge. For your copy of "Burn Prevention Tips," write to the Public Relations Department, International Shrine Headquarters, P.O. Box 31356, Tampa, FL 33611-3356 or visit the Shrine's Web site at www.shrinershq.org.

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