For the curious child, a hot bowl of soup and a few seconds alone could mean a frantic trip to the ER. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 300 children show up at the hospital each day with scald injuries. At 140 degrees, soup, water and other hot liquids can cause a third-degree burn in just five seconds.
“About half of all burn injuries are due to scalds,” said Mary Mondozzi, RN, MSN, an education coordinator at the Akron Children’s Hospital Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute. “Young children and the elderly are two groups that are more vulnerable to these types of injuries.”
A child’s thinner skin and abundant curiosity lead to many of these injuries, possibly reaching for a cup on the table or a pan on the stove. Mondozzi noted that through appropriate supervision and other preventive measures, many of these injuries can be avoided.
“When we’re cooking we’re going to use those back burners first,” she said. “We want to make sure the pot handles are always turned toward the back of the stove.”
She added that a hot water heater should never be set for more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and that cups of hot water or other liquids should be placed well out of a child’s reach, at least 10 inches from the edge of a table or countertop.
Mondozzi shares additional scald injury prevention tips in the following video.