Preventing burn injuries in your home

A scald injury can happen at any age. Children, older adults and people with disabilities are especially at risk. Hot liquids from bath water, hot coffee and even microwaved soup can cause devastating injuries. Scald burns are the second leading cause of all burn injuries.

Due the thinner skin of children, it takes only 2 seconds to acquire a third-degree burn. For hot water at 140 degrees, it will only take 5 seconds and 30 seconds for 130 degree heated water.

Most burn cases are preventable. For scald burns, it is important that you know the approximate temperature of the water. Parents must maintain below 120 degrees temperature when using the heater. Test the heated water first before placing the infant in the bath tub.

  • Turn hot water heaters down to 120 degrees.
  • To prevent spills due to overturn of appliances containing hot food or liquids, use the back burner when possible and/or turn pot handles away from the stove's edge.
  • All appliance cords need to be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
  • Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens, or stovetops. Never use wet oven mitts or potholders as they can cause scald burns. Replace old or worn oven mitts.
  • Open heated food containers slowly away from the face to avoid steam burns. Hot steam escaping from the container or food can cause burns.
  • Foods heat unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating.
  • Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
  • Teach children that hot things burn.
  • When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely. Supervise them closely.
  • Never heat bottles or children's food in the microwave or stove. Instead, use a bowl and will with warm water in the sink.

Fireplaces: Use Caution
Hand burns from gas fireplace glass doors are preventable.
Never leave your child alone in the room with the fireplace when it is on or until 45 minutes after it is turned off.
Use a fireplace screen or gate around your gas fireplace during use to keep your child away from the glass door.
Use these safety tips when visiting other homes.

Fireplace Facts
The glass barrier of a gas fireplace door can heat up to more than 200º F in approximately 6 minutes.
It takes an average of 45 minutes for the gas fireplace glass to
Contact with the glass of gas fireplace doors can result in second or third degree burns.

For more information about Burn Prevention, please visit the Kohl's Injury Prevention Program at the DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan.