Decorating dangers: How parents can prevent electrical cord burn - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Decorating dangers: How parents can prevent electrical cord burns to the mouth

(Source: Stock image/Pixabay) (Source: Stock image/Pixabay)
MISSOURI (KFVS) -

Millions of Americans have decorated their homes for the holidays, and extension cords and electrical wires are a common sight.

Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have estimated more than 1,000 injuries in children caused by oral electrical burns were reported in emergency rooms from 1997 to 2012.

The researchers caution parents and caregivers of young children to be mindful of the dangers of electrical burns to the mouth, especially during the holiday season.

They reviewed the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database and found that 1,042 emergency room visits for pediatric oral electrical burns occurred between 1997 and 2012, which is an average of 65.1 cases a year.

Nearly three-fourths of the visits involved patients younger than 5 years old.

The majority of the injuries did not require hospitalizations, 77 percent of patients were treated and released, while the remainder were admitted or transferred to a higher level of care. Most injuries involved electrical outlets, extension cords and electrical wires.

"These injuries are largely unintentional and avoidable," said Lauren Umstattd, M.D., resident physician in the MU Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and co-author of the study. "Due to their curiosity, young children are particularly at risk for oral electrical burns caused by household electrical cords, outlets and appliances. These burns can lead to devastating functional and cosmetic complications, which may require multiple corrective operations. We want families to be informed and safe while enjoying the holiday season."

The otolaryngologists recommend the following tips to help prevent oral electrical burns:

  • Install tamper-resistant outlets or outlet covers
  • Inspect cords for damage before using and check for damaged sockets or loose wires. If a cord is hot to the touch, don't use it
  • Keep unprotected cords out of sight and out of the way of foot traffic to avoid tripping. Don't run a cord under a rug, which may cause the cord to overheat
  • Be vigilant when children or pets are near electrical cords and outlets

The study, "Pediatric Oral Electrical Burns: Incidence of Emergency Department Visits in the United States, 1997-2012," was published in Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, the peer-reviewed publication of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Boy, 4, sent home from school over long hair

    Boy, 4, sent home from school over long hair

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 7:14 AM EDT2017-08-22 11:14:44 GMT
    Tuesday, August 22 2017 8:05 AM EDT2017-08-22 12:05:43 GMT

    A 4-year-old boy who has never had a haircut is being barred from attending school until he gets one. 

    A 4-year-old boy who has never had a haircut is being barred from attending school until he gets one. 

  • Powerball jackpot soars to $700M

    Powerball jackpot soars to $700M

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 1:34 PM EDT2017-08-22 17:34:53 GMT
    Tuesday, August 22 2017 1:34 PM EDT2017-08-22 17:34:53 GMT

    What would you do with a few hundred million?

    What would you do with a few hundred million?

  • breaking

    Remains of sailors found on USS McCain

    Remains of sailors found on USS McCain

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 7:22 AM EDT2017-08-22 11:22:06 GMT
    Tuesday, August 22 2017 10:16 AM EDT2017-08-22 14:16:55 GMT

    The USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early Monday.

    The USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore early Monday.

Powered by Frankly