Tips for Preventing Scalding Injury

Proof that we need to prevent scalding injuries: nearly HALF of all burn injuries treated in hospital ERs are the result of scald injuries.  It can happen in an instant and change a life forever.  Most vulnerable are young kids and older folks.  Water that is 120 degrees F or hotter can burn the skin like fire in just seconds. Children and older adults are particularly at risk due to their thin skin and slower response time.

There are ways you can prevent a scalding injury and protect your family.  Whether you’re giving your little one a bath, carrying a hot beverage or cooking on the stove, follow the Home Safety Council’s tips to prevent burn and scalding injuries in every area of your home.


  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees F or just below the medium setting.
  • Fill the tub. Run your hand through the water to test for hot spots. Then help children get in.
  • When children are in or near the tub, watch them closely. Young children and older people have thin skin. They burn more quickly.
  • To prevent a scalding injury, install special tub spouts and shower heads, such as H2otStop, that prevent hot water burns. These sense if the water gets hot enough to cause a burn and shuts off the flow of water.


  • Wear long oven mitts to protect your skin when cooking or handling hot food.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot pull them down. Use back burners when cooking.
  • To prevent a scalding injury, keep children away from the stove when you are cooking. Put tape on the floor to help children learn to stay out of the “no-kid-zone.”
  • Food cooked in the microwave can get very hot and cause a burn. Use oven mitts when you take off the lid. Stir and test the food before serving to make sure it is cool enough to eat.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not use tablecloths or place mats because young children can pull them down of the table and scald themselves.
  • Use a “travel mug” with a tight-fitting lid for all hot drinks. This can help prevent a burn if the cup tips over.
  • Do not hold or carry a child while you have a hot drink in your hand. Put only cold drinks in the cup holder of your child’s stroller and child safety seat.

Treating Burns
If a burn occurs:

  • Cool a burn with running water. Do this right away.
  • Keep the burned area in cool water for 3 minutes or longer. Do not put ice, butter or lotion on the burn. This could make it worse.
  • Call your doctor or 911 if the burn looks bad.

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