Safe Diwali: Let’s teach children to prevent burns

The National Burns Centre in Airoli has been an extra mile to spread awareness about prevention of fires and skin donation among children from July to December each year. With Diwali round the corner, NBC talks to My Medical Mantra about its School Education Programme which aims to educate children about preventing burns

Burns and its treatment has been quite a task in the country. Time and again there have been immense discussions about primitive care. Yet, experts have always said that it is best to prevent burns.

“In India, maximum burns occur in women and children especially during Diwali which is a Festival of Lights and crackers. Almost 50 per cent of these can be prevented by very simple measures,” said Dr Sunil Keswani, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Medical Director at National Burns Centre.

Domestic burns are one of the commonest causes of burns in the country, which according to experts are avoidable. “There is a very strong need to create awareness about burns among people. In fact, 80 per cent of burns that happen in India are due to unsafe housing or working conditions, which is purely avoidable,” said Dr Aniketh Venkataram, cosmetic plastic and hair transplant surgeon at Venkat Charmalaya, Bangalore.

Keeping this in mind, National Burns centre has taken on its project, School Education Programme (SEP) to create awareness about prevention of burns and skin donation to schools in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Mumbai. For the past 46 years, this has been a routine. A special team of six is appointed for giving the presentation free of cost. Furthermore, posters regarding the dos and don’ts for Diwali are provided.

“Children should be taught that the best first aid for burns is to pour water till the burning sensation subsides. These burns can be disfiguring and sometimes life threatening. Therefore, it is important that we educate our children and prevent them,” added Dr Keswani.

The program involves a 20 minute audio-visual presentation in English, Hindi  and Marathi which doesn’t include disturbing images of burns to class V, VI and VII students. “The presentation is followed by an impact test to assess the knowledge gained. Each year about 100 schools are covered in the programme. The aim is to propagate the message,” said Navin Vazirani, a team member of SEP who conducts the presentations.