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3 Most Common Burn Injuries and How to Avoid Them

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2020 | Personal Injury

There are many ways that we can accidentally burn ourselves, whether it be from heat, chemicals, sunlight, radiation, or electricity. Burns cause damage to our body’s tissues with the degree of the burn depending on the intensity of the heat. In today’s blog, we will be discussing the different types of burns, the most common burn injuries people experience, and tips for avoiding them altogether. If you or someone you love has experienced a burn or another personal injury and feel as though you should be compensated, reach out to Woods & Thompson, P.A. in Minneapolis today.

Four Types of Burn Injuries:

  1. First-degree. These burns are considered to be mild compared to second-degree and third-degree burns, as they only damage the outer layer of the skin. These types of burns typically result in pain and reddening of the outer layer of skin.
  2. Second-degree. Second-degree burns affect both the outer and lower layers of skin (epidermis and dermis), and cause redness, pain, swelling, and blistering of the affected area.
  3. Third-degree. Often called a “full thickness burn,” third-degree burns damage both the lower layer of skin and into deeper tissues of the body. These types of burns typically result in intense pain, charred skin, and can damage nerve endings.
  4. Fourth-degree. These are burns that are the most deep and severe, and can potentially be life-threatening. Fourth-degree burns destroy all layers of skin, as well as muscles, tendons, and bones.

Most Common Burn Injuries

Hot Liquid or Steam

These types of burns are typically underestimated, as steam burns may not seem as though they are as damaging as other types of burns. But research has shown that steam can actually penetrate the epidermis and cause severe burns to the dermis, and while the outer layer may not look as though it is severely damaged, the lower levels can be. The severity of these types of burns depends greatly on the:

  • Temperature of the steam or hot liquid
  • Location of the burn
  • Extent of the area on the body that was burned
  • Amount of time the skin was in contact with the steam or hot liquid

High-Risk Groups for Steam Burns or Scalds

Those who are at the highest risk for receiving steam burns or scalds are children, older adults, and people with disabilities. This is due to children having a limited understanding of what danger is, being curious, and having a limited ability to react quickly when exposed to hot steam or liquid. Children also have skin that is much thinner, so brief exposure can cause deeper burns. As for older adults, those who have certain medical conditions or take certain medications can decrease an individual’s ability to feel heat or make them more prone to falls. Lastly, those who have mobility impairments, slow or fidgety movements, slower reflexes, or another disability may also put them at a higher risk for getting a steam burn or scald.


Here are some helpful tips for decreasing the risk of household steam burns or scalds:

  • Do not leave items that are cooking on the stove unattended
  • Turn pot and pan handles toward the rear of the stove to prevent accidentally knocking it over
  • Keep hot liquids away from pets and children
  • Remove any potential trip hazards from the kitchen when moving hot pots and pans from the stove
  • Be sure to test water temperature before giving a child a bath
  • Set your water heater to below 120ºF
  • Do not carry or hold a child while cooking or holding a hot beverage

Electrical Burns

Another common type of burn is an electrical burn. Electrical burns happen when electricity comes into contact with your skin and can travel through your body. When this happens, electricity can not only damage your skin, but your tissues and internal organs as well. These burns can range from mild to severe, and can even cause death in some cases. Some of the commonly damaged organs due to electrical burns include the:

  • Heart
  • Nervous system
  • Kidneys
  • Bones and muscles


Again, those at the greatest risk for electrical burns are children, especially due to their curiosity — but it can truly happen to anyone. There are a variety of steps you can take to help prevent electrical burns from happening, and some of these include:

  • Keeping electrical cords out of the reach of children
  • Putting child safety covers on electrical outlets
  • Avoiding using any electrical appliances while in the shower, bath, or using the sink.
  • Turning off the circuit breaker when you are doing work involving electricity
  • Following all directions when using electrical appliances
  • Staying away from fallen telephone lines

Have you been wrongfully burned and feel as though you deserve compensation? Contact our personal injury lawyers today so we can help you get back on your feet.

Contact With Fire, Flame, or Another Hot Surface

The last (but not least) common burn injury we will be going over is a flame burn. In fact, flame burns account for a whopping 43% of all burns requiring burn center treatment, and are most common among men between the ages of 20 to 50. This can happen in a variety of different ways, whether it be from a home fire, building a campfire, cooking accidents, careless smoking, poor wiring, motor vehicle accidents, and so forth. When an individual suffers a flame burn due to another party’s own negligence, he or she may have the right to compensation. If this is the case for you, contact our personal injury lawyers in Minneapolis today.


Your chances of getting a flame burn can be greatly decreased or even prevented by following these tips:

  • Use circuits and extension cords appropriately so as to avoid electrical fires
  • Have at least one working smoke detector at all times
  • Insulate and maintain all sources of heat, including space heaters
  • Install home safety sprinklers
  • Create an escape route in your home in case of a fire
  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines and safety precautions with appliance usage


While children overall have the greatest risk of burning themselves, it can happen to anyone — and it happens all the time. We hope today’s post helps give you a better idea of common burns that occur as well as tips for preventing them from happening to you or someone you love. If you or someone you know have been burned from a situation that was not your fault or that could not be avoided, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our personal injury lawyers at Woods & Thompson, P.A. in Minneapolis. Our goal is to get you back to health while getting you the compensation you deserve.