Prevent scald burns Where You Live


Listen to the live interview on WKZO AM 590 and 106.9 FM on Tuesday February 5, 2019 at 8:50 am:

Scald injuries affect all ages. Children, older adults and people with disabilities are most vulnerable.  E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety wants to provide you with information on scald injury prevention during Burn Awareness Week, February 3 – 9, 2019.

Hot liquids from bath water, hot coffee and even microwaved soup can cause devastating injuries.  Scald burns are the second leading cause of all burn injuries.  American Burn Association statistics show that each day more than 300 children are seen in emergency rooms throughout the United States and two children die from burn injuries.  Most burns occur in the home, usually in the kitchen or bathroom.

“Scalds can be prevented through increased awareness of scald hazards and by making simple environmental or behavioral changes,” according to Firefighter Michael McLeieer, President of E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety.  “These changes include providing a “3-foot-kid-safe zone” while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages as well as lowering the water heater thermostat to deliver water at a temperature not to exceed 120 degrees since tap water scalds are often more severe than cooking-related scalds,” said McLeieer.

Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is designed to provide an opportunity for burn and fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities throughout Michigan and across the country.

Tips to prevent burns and scalds:

  • Teach children that hot things can burn.  Install anti-scald devices on tub faucets and shower heads.
  • Always supervise a child in or near a bathtub.
  • Before placing a child in the bath or getting in the bath yourself, test the water.
  • Test the water at the faucet and by moving your hand, wrist and forearm through the water.  The water should feel warm, not hot, to the touch.  It should be less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
  • Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who is bathing and may experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own.
  • Avoid flushing toilets, running water, or using dish or clothes washers while anyone is showering.
  • In the kitchen, turn pot handles back, away from the stove’s edge and use back burners when young children are present.
  • Use dry oven mitts or potholders.  Hot cookware can heat moisture in a potholder or hot pad, resulting in a scald burn.
  • Open microwaved food slowly and away from the face.
  • Never heat a baby bottle in a microwave oven.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Establish a “kid-safe-zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove, hot liquids and hot foods.  The “kid-safe zone” should be an area out of the traffic path between the stove and sink where children can safely play and still be supervised.
  • Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot foods or liquids.

General first aid for burns and scalds:

  • Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for three to five minutes.
  • Cover burn with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays or other home remedies.  Seek medical attention if needed.
  • Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry and metal from the burned area. These can hide underlying burns and retain heat, which can increase skin damage.


For more information about preventing scald burns, visit the E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety or United States Fire Administration websites.


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