Boise Fire Fighters Local 149 Offer Tips to Prevent Burn and Scald Injuries

BOISE, ID (May 7, 2013) – The Boise Fire Fighters Local 149 offer tips for preventing dangerous, potentially life-threatening burn and scald injuries in the home.

Our homes often hide easily-preventable causes of serious, potentially life-threatening burn and scald injuries including hot tap water and hot beverages and food. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable, though any one can suffer painful, potentially life-threatening injuries from scalds and burns. Keep yourself and loved ones safe from injury with these scald and burn prevention tips and information from Boise Fire Fighters Local 149.

Burns and scalds occur most often in the home as a result of preparing hot food or beverages or from hot tap water in showers and bathtubs. Exposure to 150°F tap water for as little as 2 seconds can result in 3rd-degree burns and burns from liquid between 160°-180°F, the temperature of a cup of coffee or tea, can be bad enough to require skin grafts. In young children and the elderly, scalds and burns can result faster and be more injurious because their skin is thinner than older children and adults.

Scalds occur when 1-2 layers of skin are damaged by hot water or liquid and 75% of all burns in children are scalds. Annually, over 400 people die from scalds or burns, 400,000 burn injuries are treated, and over 30,000 people are hospitalized in burn centers. While accidents can happen, supervising children and taking simple safety measures can reduce the chances of scalds and burns. As a community member, its also important to be aware that while often accidental, scalds and burns in children can be a sign of abuse.

Tips for the kitchen:

  • Supervise children in the kitchen
  • Use rear burners when possible
  • Keep pot handles turned in and away from stove front
  • Never hold young children while cooking
  • Keep children away from stoves, ovens, microwaves, and appliances like crock pots and rice cookers
  • Avoid using table cloths that, if grabbed, could pull hot food down on a child
  • Put non-slip mats by the stove to prevent falls

Tips for the bath:

  • Turn water heater thermostats to 120°F max temperature; 100°F is a safe bathing temperature
  • Run your hand through water to test the temperature before placing a child in a tub
  • Never leave children alone in the bath
  • Always turn cold water on first and off last to prevent accidental scalds
  • Use special tub spouts and shower heads that have sensors to detect and shut water flow off when water is hot enough to burn

Scalds are preventable with care and awareness. If you, your child or a loved one is burned, cool the area with running water right away for 3 minutes or longer. Do not put ice, butter or lotion on the burn; it could make the burn worse. Call your doctor or 911 if the burn looks bad.