Contributed by Prince William County
Scald injuries are painful and require prolonged treatment. They may result in lifelong scarring and even death. Prevention of scalds is always preferable to treatment and can be accomplished through simple changes in behavior and the home environment.
Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue (www.pwcgov.org/fire) in conjunction with the American Burn Association is promoting Burn Awareness Week, February 2 – 8, 2014, by providing information relating to scald burns.
Although anyone can sustain a scald burn, certain people are more likely to be scalded — infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities. These high risk groups are also more likely to require hospitalization, suffer complications and experience a difficult recover. Most burn injuries occur in the person’s own home and the vast majority of these injuries could have easily been prevented.
Tap Water Scalds
Tap water scalds are often more severe than cooking-related scalds. The American Burn Association recommends following t h e s e simple safety tips to decrease the risk to yourself and those you love from tap water scalds:
- Set home water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit / 48 degrees Celsius.
- Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who may experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own.
- Fill tub to desired level before getting in. Run cold water first, then add hot. Turn off the hot water first. This can prevent scalding in case someone should fall in while the tub is filling water before allowing someone to get in.
- Install grab bars, shower seats or non-slip flooring in tubs or showers if the person is unsteady or weak.
- Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish- or clothes washer while anyone is showering.
- Install anti-scald or tempering devices.
Cooking-related scalds are also easy to prevent. Some things you can do to make your home safer from cooking-related burns include:
- Establish a “kid zone” out of the traffic path, between the stove and sink, where children can safely play and still be supervised.
- Cook on back burners when young children are present.
- Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge.
- All appliance cords should be coiled and away from the counter edge.
- During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table edge.
- Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child.
For more information on preventing scald burns, visit the American Burn Association at www.ameriburn.org.
Scalds are just one of several burning issues in which health and safety officials have joined forces as advocates for public education in the prevention of burn injuries — urging the community to “Be Burn Aware.” Below are statistics of admissions to burn centers during 2003 – 2012:
- 43% fire/flame
- 34% scald
- 9% contact
- 4% electrical
- 3% chemical
- 7% other
Place of Occurrence
- 72% home
- 9% occupational
- 5% street/highway
- 5% Recreational/Sport
- 9% Other
For more information on how to “Be Burn Aware,” visit Shriners Hospital for Children at http://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/education/burn-awareness.
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