You are here

It doesn't take a fire to burn a child

scald burns

Fires aren't the most common way a child is burned -- it's actually scald burns. Scald burns are caused by hot liquids and steam and can be just as severe and devastating.

To help reduce these preventable injuries, a new education campaign is being launched by the National Scald Prevention Campaign. “FlashSplash” focuses on ways to avoid liquid and steam burn accidents.

“It can happen in a flash with a splash,” is the theme of the campaign designed to remind parents and caregivers that it only takes one quick mistake to have long-term injuries.

“We know that an overwhelming majority, 84 percent of scald burns to children, occur in the home,” says Ronda Lusk, coordinator for Safe Kids Wichita Area. “When it comes to children under the age of five, that number goes up to 95 percent.”

Lusk reminds parents that scald burns can happen in an instant.

“Liquid and steam are just as dangerous as fire,” Lusk says. “It only takes two seconds of exposure to 148 degree water or other liquids to cause a burn.”

Here are some tips for parents to help prevent severe scald burns in your home:

  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees or just below the medium setting.
  • Use a thermometer to test the water coming out of your bath water tap.
  • Run your hand through bath water to test for hot spots.
  • Use back burners and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot pull them down.
  • Use oven mitts when cooking or handling hot food and drinks.
  • Stir and test food cooked in the microwave before serving. Open heated containers away from you from back to front.
  • Keep children away from the stove when cooking by using a safety gate for younger children and marking with tape a 3-foot “no-kid zone” for older children.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters and avoid using tablecloths and placemats.
  • Use a travel mug with a tight-fitting lid for all hot drinks.
  • Never hold or carry a child while you have a hot drink in your hand.
About Maria Loving

Maria is a coordinator of the Via Christi Life news site and has worked for Via Christi Health for 16 years. She is the mother of two teenage boys.