Scald injuries require extensive treatment, and may cause permanent scarring, or even death. You can cut cost, time, energy and risk by preventing scalds. This can be done through simple changes in behavior and environment. This Burn Awareness Week, February 2-8, the American Burn Association and Genesis Medical Clinic come together to provide information about scald burns prevention.
“Although anyone can sustain a scald burn, infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities more are prone to being scalded. These high risk groups more likely will require hospitalization, suffer complications and experience a difficult recovery,” says Richard Amato, M.D. at Genesis Medical Clinic. “Most burn injuries that occur at home easily could be prevented.”
Scalds gotten from hot tap water often are more severe than cooking-related scalds. The American Burn Association recommends the following simple safety tips to decrease the risk:
- Set water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit/48 degree Celsius.
- Allow hot water to run for three to five minutes, and then test with a candy, meat or water thermometer. Adjust the water heater and wait a day to let the temperature drop. Re-test and re-adjust as necessary.
- Provide constant adult supervision of young children or adults who find it difficult to remove themselves from the bath tub. Gather all necessary supplies before placing kid in the tub and keep them within easy reach.
- Before getting in, let the tub fill to your desired level.
- Run cold water first before turning on hot water. And, turn off the hot water first. This will help should anyone fall into the tub while the water is running. Allow the hot and cold water to mix and check the temperature before allowing anyone in.
- Install grab bars, shower seats or non-slip flooring in tubs or showers.
- Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish or clothes washer while anyone is showering.
- Install anti-scald or tempering devices. These heat sensitive instruments stop or interrupt the flow of water when the temperature reaches the already programmed level and prevent hot water that is too hot from coming out of the tap.
Cooking-related scalds easily can be prevented. You can make your home safer.
- Establish a “kid zone” out of the traffic path between the stove and sink where children can play safely and still be supervised. Keep young children in high chairs or play yards, a safe distance from counter or stove tops, hot liquids, hot surfaces or other cooking hazards.
- Cook on back burners when young children are present. Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge.
- All appliance cords should be coiled and away from the counter edge.
- During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table edge.
- Use non-slip place mats instead of tablecloths if toddlers are present.
- Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child. Quick motions may cause spilling of the liquid onto the child.
For more information about preventing and treating scald burns, contact the Genesis Medical Clinic at (813) 549-7465(813) 549-7465.