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Safety Facts

Hot liquids burn like fire and can cause life-threatening burns. They are the leading cause of burn injuries in children under the age of four. At the Bothin Burn Center, we can help by helping you avoid burns and how to treat a burn should one occur.

Avoid Burn Injuries

Scalds and burn accidents frequently occur when parents or caregivers are in a hurry, angry, or under a lot of pressure or stress.

  • Coffee, tea, soup, and hot tap water can be hot enough to cause a serious burn injury.
  • Hot tap water accounts for 17 percent of all childhood scald hospitalizations.
  • Scald and steam burns are often associated with microwave oven use.
  • When tap water reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it can cause a third degree (full thickness) burn in just five seconds.

Around 60 to 70 percent of all pediatric patients seen in the Bothin Burn Center have a scald injury.

How To Prevent Scald Injuries

  • Adjust your thermostat setting on your water heater to produce a water temperature of 120-125 degrees or less.
  • Before placing a child into the bath or getting into the tub yourself, test the temperature of the water by moving your hand rapidly through the water for several seconds. The temperature should not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (a) child's delicate skin burns more quickly than an adult's.
  • Keep all hot liquids at a safe distance from children - keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
  • Never hold a child while drinking a hot liquid.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bathroom or bathtub.
  • Provide continuous supervision of children in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Purchase appliances with short cords, and keep all cords from dangling over counter edges.
  • Test all heated liquid/food before giving it to a child or placing it within his/her reach.
  • Use extreme caution bathing a child in a kitchen sink with a single-lever faucet - these are easy for a child to turn on.

Water Causes Third Degree Burns

Hot water scalding burns can happen in seconds. Make sure to always check water temperature before placing your child or someone you are caring for in a bath. 

  • 1 second at 156 degrees
  • 2 seconds at 149 degrees
  • 5 seconds at 140 degrees
  • 15 seconds at 133 degrees 

Learn More About The Bothin Burn Center At Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

For more information about the burn center, please call (415) 353-6255