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Scald Prevention

Many people don't know that hot water is a danger in the home. Hot water can burn like fire. Young children and older adults are at the highest risk because they have thin skin. But everyone can be hurt by hot water.

A scald burn is a burn from hot liquid or steam. The Home Safety Council wants you and your family to know what to do to prevent a painful scald burn from happening in your home.


In the Bathroom

Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • How hot is the water coming out of your tap? Use a thermometer.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Fill the tub. Run your hand through the water to test for hot spots. Then help the children get in.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • When children are in or near the tub, watch them closely. Young children and older people have thin skin. They burn more quickly.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
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  • Install special tub spouts and shower heads that prevent hot water burns. These sense if the water gets hot enough to cause a burn and shut off the flow of water.

In the Kitchen

Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Wear long oven mitts to protect your skin when cooking or handling hot food.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot pull them down. Use back burners when cooking.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Keep children away from the stove when you are cooking. Put tape on the floor so they can learn to stay out of the “no-kid-zone.”
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • 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 food before serving to make sure it is cool enough to eat.

Prevent Burns from Hot Drinks

Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not use tablecloths or placemats because young children can pull them down.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Use a “travel mug” with a tight-fitting lid for all hot drinks. This can help prevent a burn if the cup tips over.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Do not hold or carry a child while you have a hot drink in your hand.

If You Burn Your Skin

Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • 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.
Home Safety - Scald Prevention
  • Call you doctor or 9-1-1 if the burn looks bad.

* Photo Courtesy of Jo Deluca Photography

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