July 19, 2024


Health Can Do

Bolstering Health Literacy in a Little Book: Burn Prevention and Care With “The Family Oops”

4 min read
Bolstering Health Literacy in a Little Book: Burn Prevention and Care With “The Family Oops”

About 180,000 deaths are attributable to burns each year, according to the World Health Organization. Non-fatal burns are a leading cause of morbidity.

The good news is that burns are preventable, and we learn several terrific strategies for doing so from The Family Oops and Burns First Aid.

This mighty little book, all of 28 pages and measuring 5.5 x 5.5″ square, packs a huge amount of self-care knowledge about burn prevention and treatment for home and workplace — the two sites where most burns happen, WHO attests. The Family Oops is a wonderful example of how a health literacy project can be packaged and messaged to be enlightening, engaging, fun, and very effective.

The book was conceived by Kristina (Krissie) Stiles and illustrated by her artistic collaborator, Jill Latter.

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of meeting Krissie, a Plastic Surgery Clinical Nurse Specialist with the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation as well as serving as an Ambassador with the Children’s Burns Trust. She composed the story inspired by pediatric burn patients whose outcomes were very different based on the first aid treatments applied at the time of injury.

We first meet the Family Oops who live “in a rickety house down the Smoky Hill Close,” two parents and two children who were “careless with hot things” and had no good excuse for being so.

The plotline takes us through four mini case studies featuring each family member and their burn-mishap, object lessons in burn risks followed by prescriptive advice for preventing and treating each type of injury. Mom failed to wear sunscreen and left her hot hair iron hanging on a door handle where Little Girl Oops burned her hand. Daddy had a BBQ fire mishap, and Baby Oops injured himself scalded by a hot tea kettle.

We learn the four steps of first aid for burns:

  • Remove
  • Cool
  • Cover, and
  • Call for help.

The revelation for both my husband and me were the line items on “Cool” and “Cover.”

Cool is “the most vital burn treatment,” Mrs. Coolwalter advises the Family Oops — that is, to place your burned area under cool running tap water for twenty minutes. Twenty minutes was the big learning here for us.

Then “Cover” the cooled-down burn with a loose piece of cling film (aka plastic wrap) – again, a new lesson we’ll have for life.

This special little book was sponsored by the Children’s Burns Trust, the Centre for Children’s Burns & Trauma Research, Chiesi, the Cedar Group, and MediWound. It certainly takes a village to prevent and treat burns, especially when we consider our kids…

I asked Krissie what prompted her to put this book together, and she explained:

“I am a burns nurse and a mum, which gives me a glimpse into the life-changing impact a burn injury can have on those we love and care for the most. A majority of injuries seen in the specialist burns services are hot drink scalds in under 5’s — the most precious, most inquisitive and developmentally agile years….

“The Family Oops was borne out of a belief that through reading together, we can learn as families about the importance of burn prevention and first aid. I hope that The Family Oops may inspire our next generations of first aiders, so that burns and scars can be a thing of the past — and wouldn’t that be awesome!”

Yes, my new friend — awesome indeed!

Check out this wonderful video which tells the story of The Family Oops — and share with people you love.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  My meet-up with Krissie was serendipitous and sweet, occurring during a #PinkSocks reunion of NHS and British health and tech folks who convened at a London brew pub on Saturday 22nd April.







Blame it all on Nick Adkins, shown here with me in a long-overdue hug at the pub.

Pinksocks Life Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was co-founded by Nick and Andrew Richman based on the simple, provocative and very persuasive premise of spreading kindness and love through the gifting of “pink socks.” Whenever people who are gifted these socks get together, we wear them and smile, hug and catch up on life, laughter, and the joy of sharing time with people who care about others.

By now there are over 100,000 people around the world who are part of this movement, which started in health care and technology circles. Most recently, the pink socks are spreading through dozens of schools who are adopting kindness curricula, where teachers and students are committing to “Love More.”








One of my favorite photos from the afternoon is this one: meet Krissie, center, flanked by two NHS health care heroes of mine — Dr. Theresa Porrett of the Royal College of Nursing and global educator and fierce nurse advocate — and Roy Lilley, long-time NHS leader and now journalist-communicator-policy analyst, whose work I have followed since I worked in London as a health consultant early in my career.

In this photo, Roy is holding The Family Oops book with pride and affection: he and Terri are two of the forces behind the Fab NHS Stuff website which curates great content celebrating the Health Services best and brightest folks, learnings, events…and other great “Stuff.”

Our mantra in the Pink Socks Community is to “Love More.”

Good works like The Family Oops embody and communicate that love in the form of important content that puts the power of self-care, prevention, and empowerment in our hands. Thank you Krissie, thanks to Terri and Roy, and most of all thanks to Nick and the #PinkSocks movement for spreading the joy of connection.


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