Scald Injuries and Kids
More than 500,000 scald injuries occur every year in the United States. Approximately 20% of scald injuries happen to children of age 5 or younger. Furthermore, roughly 90% of all burn injuries on children age 5 or younger occur from scalding liquid, very hot steam, or accidental contact with hot surfaces.
Preventing Scald Injuries
Safety in the kitchen is very important to keep kids safe from scald injuries and other common burns. Fortunately, there are many small behavioral changes that can help prevent burn and scald injuries in your home. Research helps identify similar factors that contributed to the greatest amount of children visiting the emergency room for scald injuries.
The following is a list of tips for protecting kids from scald injuries, in the bathroom and especially around the kitchen:
- Set water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Per government regulations, all homes being built today should automatically set at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for preventing scald injuries.
- When running a bath, start with cold water and work your way up to a hotter, but comfortable temperature. Always test bath water temperature before letting your child get in. Never leave a child alone in the bath tub.
- Use the back burners on the stove first, with pot handles turned away from edge of counter.
- Do not use tablecloths or doilies. Children are prone to tugging on these. This can cause burn and scald injuries, as well as other injuries from sharp or heavy objects.
Test all food or heated liquid prior to giving to a child.
- Enforce a “NO ZONE,” where children should learn not to be near the stove. It’s easiest to maintain the “NO ZONE” at all times, instead of just while cooking. Depending on the type of floor, you may want to consider sectioning off a 3-foot area in front of the stove with duct tape. Reward children for staying out of the “NO ZONE.”
- Ensure you have a traffic-free path before transferring hot liquids from one kitchen location to another. Do not quickly rush around a corner, through a door, or in front of a doorway with scalding hot liquids.
- Consider purchasing a gate to keep pets or young kids out of the kitchen while you are cooking.
- Do not hold a child while cooking or holding any form of hot liquid, such as tea or coffee, to prevent scald injuries that may accidently occur.
- Always closely supervise children.
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