Scald and burn prevention


Hot water heater warning label

Reduce water temperature

Children’s skin burns at lower temperatures and more deeply than that of older children and adults.

  • Set your water heater thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Test the bathwater with your wrist or elbow before placing your child in it.
  • Consider installing anti-scald devices on water faucets and shower heads that turn off the water if the temperature is too hot.

Childproof outlets

Children can insert metal objects, such as forks or keys, into outlets, causing electrical burns.

  • Cover unused electrical outlets with safety devices.

Remove items that can burn easily

  • Keep matches, gasoline, and lighters locked away and out of children’s reach. Do not use these items for fun – children can imitate you.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Place candles in safe locations, away from combustible materials and where children or pets cannot tip them over.
  • Unplug irons and curling irons when not in use. Store them out of a child’s reach.
  • Keep appliance cords out of children’s reach, especially if the appliances contain hot foods or liquids.

Establish a “kid-free zone” and avoid hot spills

  • Keep children away from cooking and heating appliances (e.g., space heaters, fireplaces, irons, hair styling tools). Never leave the kitchen while you are cooking. If you must leave the room, take the child with you.
  • Cook with pots and pans on back burners and turn handles away from the front.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
  • Remove tablecloths from tables.
  • Never carry or hold children and hot foods or liquids at the same time.
  • Do not allow young children to use the microwave.

Test food and drink temperatures

  • Taste cooked food and heated liquids to make sure they are not too hot for your child.
  • Never microwave your baby’s bottle. Drinks heated in a microwave may be much hotter than their containers.
  • Heat bottles with warm water and test them before feeding your baby.

Avoiding fire injuries at home can also reduce a child’s risk of burn injury

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.
  • If you have hearing problems, use alarms with flashing strobe lights and vibration.
  • Test alarms once a month and replace the batteries two times per year, even if alarms are hardwired.
  • Ten-year lithium alarms do not require battery changes.
  • Test your smoke alarms at night to see if your child will wake up and respond to the alarm. Children sleep more deeply and may not wake up. If your child does not wake up to the alarm, try an alarm where you can program your voice to alert him or her.
  • Replace all alarms every 10 years.
  • For the best protection against different types of fires, consider installing both ionization alarms (better at sensing flaming fires) and photoelectric alarms (better at sensing slow, smoky fires), or dual sensor alarms.

Be safe around heating appliances

  • Place space heaters at least 3 feet away from curtains, papers, furniture and other flammable materials.
  • Make sure heaters are stable, and use protective coverings. Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Keep a screen in front of the fireplace. If it has a glass screen, it can take a long time to cool down and can burn a young child.

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