Scalds Prevention - Ten Top Tips
Hot bath water is responsible for the highest number of fatal and severe scalding injuries among young children.
Many of the children who go to an Accident & Emergency Unit with a burn or a scald are referred on for further hospital treatment.
A baby’s skin is much thinner than an adult’s, so hot water can pose a real danger to children. Recovery may be long and painful and many are left with permanent scarring.
Following a few simple tips can help to reduce life changing accidents
1 Never leave young children alone in the bathroom. Never ever!
2 Many scald accidents happen when a child gets into the bath before it’s ready, play with the hot tap when they're in the bath or lean over to pick out a toy and fall in. Never place toys in the bath first.
3 Always make sure the water is the right temperature by putting the cold water in the bath first. When the cold water has run, add the hot to get the right temperature.
4 The elbow test is the quickest way to check. Dipping your elbow into the water gives a good idea of how it will feel for your baby or toddler. It shouldn’t feel hot or cold.
5 Talk to children about hot water safety from an early age - help them learn the risks.
6 Always try to help elderly members of your household to run their bath and shower so that they don't scald themselves.
7 People of all ages are susceptible to scalds, particularly the over-75s as their skin is thinner making them more vulnerable – so always carefully test the water temperature before getting into the bath or shower, whatever your age.
8 Fit thermostatic mixing valves, taps and showers. Avoid setting the entire domestic hot water system to 46C since at this temperature it may lead to a build up of leginellae in the hot water cylinder.
9 Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) control the temperature of the hot tap, you can still have a nice hot bath but they stop children being scalded within seconds. Some newer houses and flats have TMVs on the taps already, but you can get them installed by a professional.
10 Hot drinks are also a cause of scalds to children under the age of five, a cup of tea can still burn 15 minutes after it’s been made. So put your baby or child down before picking up your hot drink, avoid passing them over children’s heads and keep them out of reach of children.
FIRST AID ADVICE
FROM THE BRITISH BURN ASSOCIATION
1. COOL the burn with running cold tap water for
20 minutes and remove all clothing
and jewellery (unless it is melted
or firmly stuck to the wound).
2. CALL for help: 999, 111 or local GP for advice.
3. COVER with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy
dressing or cloth.
Make sure the patient is kept warm.