January 7, 2011

Simmer Down – Avoiding Hot Water Burns

Thousands of tap water scald burns occur annually in the United States.  Children under the age of 5 and adults over 65 are particularly high risk groups.  All of these burns are preventable. The following can help you prevent or control tap water burns:                  

  • Before placing a child into the bath or getting into the tub yourself, test the temperature of the water on the inside of your wrist. 
  • Hold your wrist in the water for a slow count of five.  It should be comfortably warm, not hot.  Generally, a child’s bath water temperature should not exceed 100 F.
  • Never leave a young child unattended in the bathroom or tub.
  • Mix the water to ensure there are no hot spots.
  • Adjust the thermostat setting on your water heater to a temperature of 130F.   While this setting may be higher than your present setting, it insures no bacteria growth in the heater.

Hot Water Causes Third Degree Burns…

  •  In 1 second at 156 F
  •  In 2 seconds at 149 F
  •  In 5 seconds at 140 F
  •  In 15 seconds at 133F

First Aid for Scalds

Quickly remove clothing, if you can.  This helps the heat escape from the skin.  However, if stuck to the skin, leave the clothes on to avoid further skin damage.  Immediately pour cold water gently over the scald for 15 to 20 minutes.  Never use ice, oil, butter or ointments.  These can further damage the skin.  Cover the scald with a clean cloth.  See a doctor if the scald is on the hands, feet, genitals or buttocks, if it is blistered, or if in doubt.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
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