Development of a Burn Prevention Teaching Tool for Amish Children

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Although there are inherent risks for burn injury associated with the Amish lifestyle, burn prevention is not taught in Amish schools. The purpose of this study was to develop a burn prevention teaching tool for Amish children. An anonymous parental survey was designed to explore the content and acceptability of a teaching tool within an Old Order Amish community. After institutional review board approval, the Amish teacher distributed surveys to 16 families of the 30 children attending the one-room school. Fourteen (88%) of the families responded to identify these burn risks in and around their homes, barns, and shops: lighters, wood and coal stoves, kerosene heaters, gasoline-powered engines, and hot liquids used for canning, butchering, mopping, washing clothes, and making lye soap. All respondents were in favor of teaching familiar safety precautions, fire escape plans, burn first aid, and emergency care to the children. There was some minor objection to more modern devices such as bath tub thermometers (25%), fire extinguishers (19%), and smoke detectors (6%). The teacher was interested in a magnetic teaching board depicting Amish children and typical objects in their home environment. Movable pieces could afford the opportunity to identify hazards and to rearrange them for a safer situation. This survey served to introduce burn prevention to one Amish community and to develop an appropriate teaching tool for the school. It is anticipated that community participation would support its acceptance and eventual utilization within this tenaciously traditional culture.

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