Exploding E-Cigarette Burns 3-Year-Old Boy: Lithium Ion Battery Hazard?

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Home / Exploding E-Cigarette Burns 3-Year-Old Boy: Lithium Ion Battery Hazard?
Electronic cigarettes may not be the safest way to quit smoking. Image by Gloriaricardi

Electronic cigarettes may not be the safest way to quit smoking – overcharging and other malfunctions can cause the e-cigs to explode. Image by Gloriaricardi

Electronic cigarettes are in the news again, and it’s not a good thing. This time a three-year old Utah boy was burned while in the car with his mother who was charging her electronic cigarette.

The mother claimed that a white-hot copper coil shot out of the electronic cigarette, hit the car’s ceiling and then landed on her son’s lap. The car seat and the little boy’s clothing quickly caught fire. The mother put out the flames, but the boy suffered minor burns over his body, reports New York Daily News.

This isn’t the first time that e-cigarettes have exploded and caused burns on people or caught things on fire.

Minor Burns: What Does That Mean?

The three-year old little boy suffered minor burns on his elbows, lower back, and buttocks. What does that mean exactly?

There are three different classifications of burns: First degree, second degree, and third degree burns. Minor burns can include first and second degree burns, but not third degree as those are the most serious.

  • First degree burns occur when the outer layer of the skin is burned superficially, but not all the way through, according to the Mayo Clinic. The skin is usually red, swollen, and painful. You can treat first degree burns as minor burns unless the burns cover a large area; then you need medical care immediately.
  • Second degree burns occur when the first and second layer of the skin has been burned. This causes severe pain and swelling, blisters – and the skin is intensely red and splotchy. According to Mayo Clinic, if the burn is no longer than three inches you may treat it as a minor burn. However, if the area is larger than three inches, or if the burn is on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, you need medical care immediately.

You can treat minor burns at home in some cases. At-home treatment includes:

  • Cooling the burn. Hold the burned area under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes or until pain subsides. Do not use cold water or ice. You can also use a cool compress instead of running the area under water. Cooling the burn helps reduce swelling and pulls the heat away from the skin.
  • Wrapping the burn. Use clean gauze (no cotton or anything that may leave lint in the wound) and loosely wrap the gauze around the burn. Wrapping the burn keeps air off the burn, reduces pain, and protects any blisters.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers include aspirin, Motrin, naproxen, or acetaminophen. Don’t give kids or teens aspirin, as it is associated with Reye Syndrome.

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