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Scald safety

How scalds happen

Most scalds occur in residences. Scald burns are typically related to ordinary activities – bathing, cooking and eating – and often happen to children because of a lapse in adult supervision or a lack of protective measures. Youngsters may not understand or even be aware of potential dangers of hot liquids (especially water) and foods; they simply trust adults to keep them safe.

In addition, young children have thinner skin that burns more quickly than adults’. People of all ages can be burned in 30 seconds by a flowing liquid that is 130° F; at 140° F, it takes only 5 seconds; at 160° F, it only takes 1 second. For children under 5, these temperatures can cause a burn in half the time.

Quick facts about scald injuries

(Source: Safe Kids USA)

Preventing scalds

According to Safe Kids USA, hot tap-water burns most often occur in the bathroom and tend to be more severe and cover a larger portion of the body than other scald burns. Continuous supervision of young children is the most important factor in preventing tap-water scald burns, but there are additional simple preventive measures that can be taken, including:

Scalds also occur in the kitchen and dining room. Many of these can be prevented by following these tips:

These suggestions may seem obvious, but given the statistics, they cannot be repeated too often. Burn Awareness Week is a perfect time to take advantage of the complimentary burn prevention materials available from Shriners Hospitals for Children's . These include burn prevention posters, activity books and fact sheets.

Tip sheet: Keep Children Safe from Scalds