Brecker Bunny Safety Books

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:11 am

You don’t leave the hospital with an instruction manual on how to protect your child…you learn only by doing. I would do anything to not have learned this lesson the way we did, but it is our reality. Laying on the hospital gurney, cradling my 21-month-old, I sang our favorite lullaby, “Gentle Breeze” through tears. I tried to wish Brecker Bunny Learns to be Carefulaway the moment, but his screams and cries of, “Mama hurts, mama hurts” kept me firmly grounded in the heartbreaking reality…this was happening…and it was happening to my baby. All the wishing and singing could not ease his pain.

On April 6, after returning home from a walk, I received a frantic call from my husband. He was in the ER. Our son had been badly burned in the tub. Now, my initial thought, before I reached the hospital, was that it couldn’t be too bad. Like all concerned parents, upon moving into our newly constructed home, we made sure to have our son’s tub installed with a device to prevent him from turning the water on too hot. We also had asked to have our water temperature set appropriately. After seeing our son in the hospital, I knew something had gone horribly wrong.

In the time it normally takes for our son to go upstairs and get his blanket and then come back down, my husband heard screams. Rushing up the stairs with our one-week-old in his arms, my husband found our son sitting in our master bath whirlpool tub, crying frantically as the skin peeled away from his legs and feet. His diapers and overalls provided some insulation for the rest of his body, but his feet were horribly damaged. After three weeks in the hospital and skin grafts, our son was allowed to come back home. But care was not over. He had compression socks for over a year and another surgery as well. And the time it took for this to happen?

Less than 10 seconds…

After careful investigation, it was discovered that our water temperature was set above 135 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause third degree burns for a child in 10 seconds. At 126, third degree burns can occur in under two minutes. Legally, all water heaters must be set by the manufacturer at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, however, it is best if temperatures are set at 110 when there are small children in the house.

Sitting in the hospital and feeling helpless and like a failure did nothing to help Breck or heal the emotional wounds my husband and I had, so we began the process of reaching out. What could we learn? What could we do to teach our child and ourselves about safety? We were disappointed by what we found. We decided to do something about it. 

It became our family’s mission to find out the top reasons why toddlers get burned and create a book that was a bedtime story with a purpose. Brecker Bunny Learns to Be Careful was born. It is the loving collaboration between burn nurses and doctors at University of Madison Hospital and Clinics , Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety (WAFS) www.wafs.org and me, the mom. After meeting with experts from the Burn Center in January of 2005, much research, finding an illustrator, a partner (WAFS), funds, a printer, and learning the publishing ropes, the first printing of Brecker Bunny Learns to Be Careful! A Lesson in Fire and Burn Safety was handed out to survivors and supporters at the WAFS Camp for Burn Survivors in August of 2007.

To date we have delivered over 120,000 of this title alone. We printed it in Spanish and Brecker has a lighter safety book called Brecker Bunny Asks for Help too! Next on the agenda…the rest of the safety series: water safety, passenger safety, bicycle safety, even stranger danger. All books with real lessons, about real kids (now bunnies), made easy and fun to read at bedtime. I wish that my Breck never had to experience his burns, but seven years later, my eight year old has helped to keep many children a little safer…and he even has the thank you letters to prove it!

HEALTHFUL HINTS

1. Tips when reading a safety book:

  • Sit in close proximity with your child while reading. A snuggle goes a long way to help children’s brains chemically calm making them more receptive to what they are learning.
  • Choose one to three things to emphasize each time you read a safety book. To stop and point something out on every page is confusing and overwhelming.
  • Don’t be afraid to get up and move the book. Most kids and adults learn best by moving their lesson. If you are learning to stay three feet away from a fireplace…pace of three feet and practice.
  • Make children partners in safety, rather than merely the recipient of the lesson. Look for opportunities to ask them how they can make a room or situation safer.

2. Tips on Burn Safety in and around the home (based on the top 3 accidental reasons toddlers in my area end up in the Burn Centers):

  • Keep children 3 feet away from stoves, ovens and microwaves. There are so many children in burn clinics who have been scalded by caramel, coffee or hot water spilling as it comes out of the microwave. Usually these burns occur on little ones’ faces.
  • DO NOT TRUST YOUR HAND TO TAKE THE TEMPERATURE OF THE BATHTUB! Test your water temperature by holding a water thermometer or candy thermometer under the stream of water after it has had the opportunity to heat up. If it is over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, change your water heater immediately. Consider setting the temperature below 110 degrees Fahrenheit if you have very young children or elderly people in your home. Their skin is thinner and easier to burn. Also, it is more difficult for them to get out of tubs quickly to avoid a burn.
  • Candles and fireplaces should never be allowed to burn unattended.
  • Keep a three foot rock perimeter around campfires and do not allow children within the ring. I get letters from moms telling me that they thought if they were standing next to their child, the child would be safe; yet, one quick trip or fall and hands and feet can end up in a fire.
  • Most importantly, stay vigilant. Periodically do safety checks around your house. There are many great checklists online and of course, in the back of Brecker Bunny!

Be Bunny Buddies and keep your family safe!

Comments

7 Responses to “Brecker Bunny Safety Books”

  1. Thank you for reminding us how important checking water temperature can be! Great tips!

  2. We had a hot tub when my kids were little and it was hot. Not until I was reminded about water temperature from these books and the author did I realize how unsafe we were! Thanks for letting others know!

  3. Every new parent should be given the Brecker Bunny Series. The books are written in an easy format, one that not only keeps a child’s interest, but teaches them how to stay safe!!! These are wonderful books!

  4. Thank you for sharing this valuable and much needed information. I wish I had the Brecker Bunny Safety Books when my children were small.

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