Stop Scalds Before They Happen - Central County Fire & Rescue

Stop Scalds Before They Happen

Scald injuries are painful, require prolonged treatment, and may result in lifelong scarring and even death.

In conjunction with Burn Awareness Week, February 5 – 11, 2012, the American Burn Association and Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) are working to spread the word on how to prevent burns and scalds.

“Although anyone can sustain a scald burn, certain people are more likely to be scalded — infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities. These groups are also more likely to require hospitalization, suffer complications and experience a difficult recovery,” says CCFR Chief Russ Mason. “Most burn injuries occur in the person’s own home, and the vast majority of these injuries could have easily been prevented.”

The American Burn Association recommends the following simple safety tips to decrease the risk to yourself and those you love from tap water scalds:

  1. Set home water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit / 48 degree Celsius.
    • An easy method to test this is to allow hot water to run for three to five minutes, then test with a candy, meat or water thermometer.
    • Adjust the water heater and wait a day to let the temperature drop. Re-test and re-adjust as necessary.
  2. Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who may experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own.
  3. Gather all necessary supplies before placing a child in the tub, and keep them within easy reach.
  4. Be careful while filling the bathtub.
    • Fill tub to desired level before getting in.
    • Run cold water first, then add hot. Turn off the hot water first. This can prevent scalding in case someone should fall in while the tub is filling.
    • Mix the water thoroughly and check the temperature by moving your elbow, wrist or hand with spread fingers through the water before allowing someone to get in.
  5. Install grab bars, shower seats or non-slip flooring in tubs or showers if the person is unsteady or weak.
  6. Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish- or clothes washer while anyone is showering.
  7. Install anti-scald or tempering devices.
    • These heat sensitive instruments stop or interrupt the flow of water when the temperature reaches a pre-determined level and prevent hot water that is too hot from coming out of the tap.

Cooking-related scalds are also easy to prevent. Some things you can do to make your home safer from cooking-related burns include:

  1. Establish a “kid zone” out of the traffic path between the stove and sink where children can safely play and still be supervised.
  2. While cooking keep young children in high chairs or play yards, a safe distance from counters or stovetops, hot liquids, hot surfaces or other cooking hazards.
  3. Cook on back burners when young children are present.
  4. Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge.
  5. Keep all appliance cords coiled and away from the counter edge.
  6. During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table edge.
  7. Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths if toddlers are present.
  8. Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child. Quick motions may cause spilling of the liquid onto the child.

For more information on Burn Awareness Week, or fire safety call 636.970.9700.

Additional Resources

American Burn Association

Safe Kids Burn Awareness Week Information

Shriners Hospitals for Children