Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Microwave ovens need added safety controls

07.10.2008
Study finds toddlers can open microwaves, scald themselves

Microwave ovens should be equipped with safety controls to prevent children from opening them and being burned by hot foods and drinks, according to a study published today by University of Chicago Medical Center researchers in the October 2008 issue of the Journal Pediatrics.

Severe scalds can be devastating for children because they can leave scars and wounds that can restrict movement. The study recommends extra protections, such as locking mechanisms and stepped-up warning campaigns, to reduce accidental injuries to children when they remove food from the microwave.

"Aside from efforts to set hot water heaters at or below 120 degrees, there have been few scald prevention efforts that have been effective," said Kyran Quinlan, MD, MPH, a study author and associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical Center.

Study author Lawrence Gottlieb, MD, professor of surgery and director of the Medical Center's Complex Wound Center, added that burns have long-lasting effects on appearance and physical function. "It is far better to prevent these injuries than to treat painful burns and try to fix the resultant scars," he said.

The researchers suggest that microwave ovens include a locking mechanism to make it difficult for young children to open a microwave after food or drinks have been heated. Many current models have an option to lock the oven which requires the user to hold the start or stop/clear button for three to four seconds before it will operate. However, this does not stop a child from opening the oven after something has been heated, the study noted.

The study focused on 104 patients less than 5 years old who were admitted to the Medical Center's Burn Unit between Jan. 1, 2002, and Dec. 31, 2004, for unintentional injuries, but not for tap water scalds. Researchers found that 90 percent of the 104 children were scalded by hot food or liquids.

Two unexpected patterns led up to the injuries. In the first, children between 18 months and 4 years were burned after they opened the microwave and removed hot foods or liquids themselves.

In the second, older children, ages 7 to 14, inadvertently burned younger children in their care. The incidents occurred when the older child accidentally spilled hot food on the young child, or when the younger child was being supervised by the older child.

Burn injuries were most frequent in children between 10 and 21 months old. Most injuries occurred while children were at home being cared for by their family or primary caregiver.

Treatment for children in the study involved skin grafts and an average hospital stay of eight days. Forty-five children suffered burns to more than 10 percent of their bodies. In some of the more severe cases, children endured prolonged intubation and tracheostomy, and developed wound infections. Seven children required inpatient rehabilitation.

"Microwaved foods and drinks can cause serious scald injuries to young children," study author Gina Lowell, MD, said. "While parents may well recognize the stove as a danger area in the kitchen, they may not realize that their toddlers can open the microwave, remove what was heated, and scald themselves."

The study added that major sources of safety information from parenting books, in addition to child and home safety organizations, inadequately address the threat posed by food heated in microwaves.

For youngsters, microwaves can be a playful attraction that leads to trouble. Children open and close it to imitate their parents' actions and may think of the microwave as toy.

Kyran Quinlan, Gina Lowell, and Lawrence Gottlieb are the authors of this study. Lowell was a pediatric resident at the University of Chicago Medical Center at the time of the study and is now with Rush University Medical Center.

The University of Chicago Medical Center
Office of Medical Center Communications
850 E. 58th Street, Room 106, MC6063
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 702-6241 Fax (773) 702-3171

Martha O'Connell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

Further reports about: Microwave Microwave ovens locking mechanism safety controls

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

20.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>