Burns are one of the top five causes of accidental deaths in children, even though almost 75 percent of scalding burns in children are preventable. The Children’s Burn Foundation is on a mission to lower these statistics through a massive educational outreach effort.
To this end, the foundation is launching an interactive exhibit at the California Science Center that teaches children and adults alike about the science of fire, how to prevent a fire and what to do if a burn injury occurs.
One of their key supporters is Ron Smith who alongside his wife has been involved with the organization for almost a decade. While many Santa Monicans may recognize Smith as their friendly realtor from Smith & Berg Partners, he is also a Gold Sponsor of the Children’s Burn Foundation.
“They do a phenomenal job of educating the public of the importance of common sense things that you can do at home to avoid burns,” said Smith. “It’s a great organization and I know that everybody’s really busy with their own personal lives, but whether it’s the Children’s Burn Foundation or another charity, we’ve got to make time to make a contribution and get involved.”
The new exhibit will open in November and be a permanent feature of the museum. There is a wildfire activity scene that addresses the important issue of wildfires in California and steps that can be taken to protect homes and communities from these risks. There are also 20 different hands-on activities that allow visitors to safely experience fire hazards and practice safety behaviors.
“The number one kitchen accident is boiling water and so I know this sounds super common sense, but you want to put your pots to the back of the stove not the front,” said Smith, who has become somewhat of a fire safety expert since he started working with the foundation.
According to Smith, the other two top accidents are children touching hot surfaces in a microwave and scalding bath water. Simple steps like elevating a microwave or always testing water temperature are some of the key tips shared by the foundation, which can go a long way when it comes to protecting children.
Obviously not all burn accidents are preventable and these types of injuries can be very difficult for children to deal with, both because of the intensity of pain and the lasting scars.
Another initiative of the foundation is a summer camp for child burn victims called Camp Gung Ho. The camp helps children connect with other young burn-survivors and their siblings for four days of free fun-filled activities.
“The summer camp is a wonderful initiative because it gives kids a sense of belonging and, especially with social media these days, there’s so many reasons for kids to feel self conscious,” said Smith. “When you’re in an environment with no expectations and no one scrutinizing you, it makes it very warm and comforting.”
The foundation also provides reconstructive treatment for victims, emergency family assistance, counseling and a teen support program. Collectively the foundation’s programs reach more than 85,000 children and families annually.
The new exhibit at the California Science Center (700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles) will open in November.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.childburn.org or call (818) 907-2822.