twins in bathtub with mom

Preventing Scalds

Information about Scalds

Did you know…

  •  Hot liquid burns (scalds) are one of the most common causes of burns in children.
  • Scalds account for three-fourths of all burns in children under 4 years of age.
  • Scalds are a major source of injury to the elderly.
  • Nearly all homes tested have unsafe bathtub water temperatures.
  • Most scalds happen in the kitchen, usually from water of food heated on stoves or in microwaves. Most of the rest occur in bathtubs.
  • In almost half of tap water scalds, the water was turned on by a child.

Time it takes to get a severe burn from a scald:
155 degrees = 1 second
148 degrees = 2 seconds
140 degrees = 5 seconds
133 degrees = 15 seconds
127 degrees = 1 minute
124 degrees = 3-4 minutes

Scald Prevention

How to Prevent Scalds

  • Keep hot liquids (coffee, soup, etc.) out of reach of children.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children can’t pull or tip pans.
  • Never hold a child while working next to a stove or other cooking appliance (coffee pot, fry pan, microwave oven, etc.) Don’t let children near you while you’re cooking.
  • If you have a cup of hot liquid in your hands, never stand next to someone holding an infant or small child. They may lurch forward and tip the cup or stick their hands in it.
  • Don’t let children carry containers of hot liquids.
  • Provide continuous adult supervision of young children in or near the bathroom or bathtub.
  • Always run cold water first, then hot. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Never leave children unattended near hot water. They might jump in before you can test the temperature, drown, or become injured some other way.
  • Never place a child in a tub or shower before checking the water temperature by moving your hand or wrist in the water. It should feel warm, not hot, to your wrist or elbow. In the thermometer, the temperature should be less than 105° F.
  • The best protection: Lower water heater temperature to less than 125°. High temperature can cause severe burns in one second!

Install anti-scald plumbing fittings for the shower, tub and faucets. Even better, install thermostatically controlled regulators.

What to do?

  •  Check your water temperature by running hot water for two to three minutes, then filling a large bowl. If the temperature is more than 125° F when measured with an accurate high-temperature thermometer, turn down the setting on your water heater.
  • If your water heater doesn’t have a numbered dial, turn it to between “low” and “medium” and wait 12 hours. Then recheck the water temperature as described above.
  • If your water heater has no dials, or you need help changing the temperature, call your local electric or gas utility and ask for assistance. Electrical water heaters often need professional temperature adjustment.
  • Turning down the water heater temperature will help prevent tap water scald burns and save energy and money as well. 125° is hot enough to get dishes clean in an electric dishwasher. Most dishwashers now have pre-heaters which makes high water temperatures unnecessary.

General Practice residents join the internal medicine team for two weeks and observe the physical manifestations of various diseases. Residents gain experience taking medical histories and doing physical examinations.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

This rotation is equivalent to 13 weeks. Residents gain experience with routine and surgical extractions, third molar removal, pre-prosthetic surgery, evaluation and treatment of dental alveolar trauma, and managing odontogenic infections. Residents assist in the operating room with the treatment of maxillofacial trauma, odontogenic infections, and orthognathic surgery.

Emergency Treatment

Emergency Treatment for Scald Victims

  •  Remove the victim from the burn site if there is further danger.
  • Stop the burning. Flood or immerse the burned area with cold water to stop the burning and reduce pain.
  • Cover the burn with a clean sheet or towel to maintain body temperature.
  • Immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Don’t put anything other than cool water on the burn and don’t attempt to clean it.

Hennepin Healthcare Burn Center 612-873-2915.