Ashland, Oregon

Preventing Hot Liquid Burns at Home

Almost every family with young children has experienced some  situation in which a child was scalded or was involved in a  situation which had scald or burn risk potential. Scald  injuries, associated with the kitchen, are very common and children are most frequently the victims. Children under the age of two are injured usually as the result of some other person's actions. As the child becomes older, the cause of injury is more frequently associated with their own actions. A lack of experience, knowledge and understanding are commonly associated with these burn injuries. Adults as well as children may encounter situations which present a scald burn risk as a result  of not knowing that such a risk may exist. This is most commonly  true among young families or in situations where people encounter  items or equipment with which they are not familiar. Injuries can be prevented and the risk producing situations controlled.

The following are some methods of addressing scald burn risk  potentials in the kitchen:

  • Continuous and adequate supervision of children in the  kitchen is of prime importance. As a child's mobility and curiosity increases, appropriate supervision becomes essential.
  • Keep all hot items at a safe distance from a child. Wherever necessary, use playpen or highchair to create a safe zone for children.
  • Keep pot handles turned in or to the back of the stove.
  • Use pot holders.
  • Cook on rear burners or elements.
  • Keep sleeves rolled up or wear short sleeve garments when cooking.
  • Test all heated food before giving it to a child or placing it within their reach.
  • Read and follow the directions when using appliances, especially microwave ovens.
  • Keep children out of the "traffic path" and check their location before moving any hot or heavy item.
  • Beware of deep fat frying hazards. Hot fat, grease and oils may reach temperatures of 490 degrees F.
  • Tablecloths which drape down over table edges may be used to pull hot dishes and liquids off onto little children who may tug on them.
  • Children under the age of three should not be given real pots and pans to play with. Children may reach for these "toys" when they contain hot liquid or food.
  • Be sure to inform babysitters of the safe use of kitchen appliances, including the location of fire extinguishers, first aid equipment, and emergency telephone numbers.
  • Purchase appliances with short cords and prevent cords from dangling over the edge of counters.

These safety tips can effectively prevent the majority of scald burns involving young children. For information concerning these issues and other fire safety practices please call Ashland Fire and Rescue at (541) 482-2770.