Scalds and children

Scalding caused by hot liquids or steam is the most common type of burn among children.

It’s often caused by hot foods or liquids spilled in the kitchen. Another common scalding burn, caused by tap water, typically occurs in the bathroom. Hot water taps tend to cover a larger part of the body and the burns can be more severe – resulting in more hospitalizations – than other liquid burns and fatalities.

Prevent burns in the bathroom by lowering the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Water that is hotter than this can scald a young child in three seconds. Don’t rely on your own sense of touch to determine whether bathwater is too warm for your child; instead, use a thermometer. And never leave a child alone in the bathroom or kitchen.

Other Burn Prevention Tips:
• Opt for placemats rather than a tablecloth.
• Keep appliance cords out of reach. This can lower the risk of children pulling hot items on to themselves.
• Never allow a child to use a microwave or stove without supervision, and never carry or hold a child at the same time as you are holding hot foods or liquids.
• Food sometimes cooks unevenly, test it before giving it to a child to eat.

The Burn Center at Hennepin County Medical Center
As many as 25 percent of the patients in our Burn Center at any one time are children.

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