Safe Kids Utah is a statewide network of organizations working together to prevent unintentional injuries for children ages zero to 14. We are educating families, providing safety devices to families in need, and are advocating for better laws to keep the children in Utah safe, healthy, and happy. We want to keep our children out of the emergencies room and able to play and enjoy life, injuries free.Safe Kids Utah reaches from the northern tips of the state in Bear River, through the Wasatch Front, to the Uintah Mountains in Vernal, to the country of Central Utah, and to the red rocks of southern Utah. Every part of Utah has safety experts, educators, corporations, governments, agencies, volunteers, and care-givers who are coming together to educate and protect these families throughout Utah.
From 2006-2010, there were 128 children ages 0-14 who were hospitalized and during 2005-2009, there were more than 3,975 children who visited the emergency rooms specifically because of burns or scalds, according to the Utah Department of Health.
Scalds: A Burning Issue
Scald injuries are painful and require prolonged treatment. They may result in lifelong scarring and even death. Prevention of scalds is always preferable to treatment and can be accomplished through simple changes in behavior and the home environment.
In conjunction with Burn Awareness Week,the American Burn Association and University Health Care Burn Center is providing information relating to scald burns for use in your own communities.
Although anyone can sustain a scald burn, certain people are more likely to be scalded — infants, young children, older adults, and people with disabilities. These high risk groups are also more likely to require hospitalization, suffer complications, and experience a difficult recovery. Most burn injuries occur in the person’s own home and the vast majority of these injuries could have easily been prevented.
Tap Water Scald Prevention
Tap water scalds are often more severe than cooking-related scalds. The American Burn Association recommends the following simple safety tips to decrease the risk to yourself and those you love from tap water scalds.
- Set home water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. An easy method to test this is to allow hot water to run for three to five minutes, then test with a candy, meat, or water thermometer. Adjust the water heater and wait a day to let the temperature drop. Re-test and re-adjust as necessary.
- Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who may experience difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own. Gather all necessary supplies before placing a child in the tub and keep them within easy reach.
- Fill tub to desired level before getting in. Run cold water first, then add hot. Turn off the hot water first. Mix the water thoroughly and check the temperature by moving your elbow, wrist, or hand with spread fingers through the water before allowing someone to get in.
- Install grab bars, shower seats, or non-slip flooring in tubs or showers if the person is unsteady or weak.
- Avoid flushing toilets, running water, or using the dish- or clothes washer while anyone is showering.
- Install anti-scald or tempering devices. These heat sensitive instruments stop or interrupt the flow of water when the temperature reaches a pre-determined level and prevent hot water that is too hot from coming out of the tap.
Cooking Scald Prevention
Cooking-related scalds are also easy to prevent. Some things you can do to make your home safer from cooking-related burns include:
- Establish a “kid zone” out of the traffic path between the stove and sink where children can safely play and still be supervised. Keep young children in high chairs or play yards, a safe distance from counter- or stovetops, hot liquids, hot surfaces or other cooking hazards.
- Cook on back burners when young children are present. Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge. All appliance cords should be coiled and away from the counter edge. During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table edge. Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths if toddlers are present. Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child. Quick motions may cause spilling of the liquid onto the child.
- Do not make hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate in a mug that a child normally uses. Consider using mugs with tight-fitting lids, like those used for travel, when children are present.
- Do not place hot liquids on low coffee or end tables that a young child can reach.
Safe Kids Utah is a leader and state resource for up-to-date, accurate childhood injury prevention information.
Please see the following links for additional information on burn & scalds prevention from safety advocates around the country.
Safe Kids USA: Burns & Scalds
Utah Safety Council: Fire & Burn Safety Tips
Utah State Fire Marshall Office
Utah Burn Center, University of Utah