How to prevent scalding injuries

News Journal

CINCINNATI – National Burn Awareness Week is this week — a perfect opportunity for Shriners Hospitals for Children to share simple tips to keep children safe from burn injuries.

The focus of this year’s campaign is preventing burns from scalds, injuries from hot liquids or steam. According to statistics, the overall number of major pediatric burn injuries are down.

Unfortunately, the proportion of those burns caused by scalding incidents has continued to increase. Scalds are the cause of over one-third of all burn-related injuries.

Eighty-five percent of scald injuries occur in the home. With children under the age of five, that number increases to 95 percent. Many of these burns occur from spilling or pulling down hot liquids from stoves or tabletops.

One common culprit is coffee— it takes less than two seconds of exposure to water at 148° to cause injuries serious enough to require surgery, yet most coffee is heated to 175°.

Another frequent area for scalds in children is the bathroom. Hot water heaters should be set at 120°F, or just below the medium setting.

Here are a few household tips to avoid childhood injuries due to scalds:

• Make sure children have a safe, supervised play area out of the traffic path between the stove and the sink.

• Use placemats instead of tablecloths around small children, who may use the cloths to pull themselves up.

• Never hold hot liquids when holding a child, and never set them in reach of young children.

• Turn pot handles toward the back of a stove, and keep cords for electric hot pots and cookers out of reach.

• Always test bath water with your hand or elbow before immersing a child, and keep the temperature at 100°.

If a burn does occur, remove clothing from the injured area, stop the burn process with cool (not cold) water, then cover the area with a clean, dry sheet or bandage and seek medical attention.

If families do need treatment, Cincinnati Shriners Hospital is the premier destination for pediatric burns of any size. They accept patients from anywhere in the region without a referral and all services are provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Contact Cincinnati Shriners Hospital at 855-206-2096, or visit

News Journal