Every year, approximately 450 patients including infants and adults get admitted in the UC San Diego Health Regional Burn Center. Scald burns make up 35 percent of the overall burn injuries that affect a steeping number of 60 percent of children five years or younger. Scald burns are extremely painful and life-threatening which occur as an exposure to hot tap water or food and beverage heated on a stove or microwave.
During National Burn Awareness Week (the first week of February), Jeanne Lee, MD, director of the Burn Center, offers a variety of prevention tips and facts for families, such as:
‘Supervision is the most vital factor in preventing scalding burns in children.’
• Hot water will burn skin at temperatures much lower than boiling point (212°F/100°C). In fact, it only takes three seconds of exposure to 140°F/60°C water to cause a burn serious enough to require surgery. Set water heaters at 120°F/48°C or just below the medium setting. A safe bathing temperature is 100°F.
• Don't make hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate in a mug that a child normally uses. Consider using mugs with tight-fitting lids, such as travel mugs, when children are nearby.
• Supervision is the single most important factor in preventing tap water scalds. If you must leave the bathroom while bathing a child, take the child with you.
• Lack of safe play areas for children can increase the risk of scald burns. Establish a "No Kids Zone" in the kitchen. Safe play areas where children can be supervised should be out of the traffic path between the stove and sink.