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Safe Kids Canada: You can prevent Scalds

From Safe Kids Canada

Hot water burns like fire!

Scalds are burns caused by:
  • hot water from the tap
  • hot liquids (such as coffee or tea)
  • hot food (such as soup)
  • steam (such as from a kettle or pot)
Safety check
Test the temperature of the hot water from your tap. Lower the temperature to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). To find out how, turn over the page.
Do not drink a hot drink if you are holding your child. Use a cup with a lid for hot drinks.
Keep young children safely out of the way when you are cooking or making hot drinks.
Do not give hot food or drinks to your child. Make sure the food or drinks are warm, not hot.

Did you know?
  • Your child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than yours. Your child’s skin will burn more quickly and at a lower temperature than yours.
  • More children are burned by hot liquids than by fire.
Safety in the kitchen
Whenever possible, use the back burners on the stove for cooking. Turn pot handles to the back the stove to keep hot food from getting knocked onto your child.

Do not let the cords from electrical appliances (such as your kettle) hang over the edge of a counter or table. Your child might pull the cord and be scalded by hot liquid.

Keep your child safely out of the way when you are cooking or making hot drinks. Your child is most likely to be scalded in the kitchen when you are busy working there.

Safety in the bathtub
First, lower the temperature of the hot water in your home.

Follow these steps to make sure your child’s bath water is always the right temperature:
  • Run cold water into the bathtub first, then add hot water until the bath is warm (not hot). Run a bit more cold water at the end to cool off the faucet.
  • Before you put your child in the bathtub, test the water with your hand. The water should feel warm, not hot. The right temperature for your child is cooler than what you would choose for your own bath.
  • Keep your child away from the hot water tap. Do not let him or her turn it on.
  • Do not leave your young child in the bathtub with an older child. The older child may turn on the hot water tap.
  • Always stay with a child under 5 when he or she is in the bath or near bath water. A scald can happen in seconds.
  • If anyone else gives your child a bath (for example, a relative or babysitter), teach him or her these points to keep your child safe.
Microwave alert
It is not a good idea to use a microwave to heat a baby bottle or baby food. Food or milk that is heated in a microwave can feel fine on the outside but be very hot on the inside. It is better to heat a bottle in warm water, and to heat food on the stove.

If you do use a microwave, mix the food or shake the bottle after it has been heated. This will help get rid of hot spots. Check the temperature. It should feel warm, not hot.

How hot is the water from your taps?
Most hot water heaters in Canada are set at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Your child’s skin can burn in just one second at that temperature.

Test the temperature of your hot water and lower it to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit). This is a much safer temperature for your child. You will still have lots of hot water for use in your home.

You can lower your water temperature by turning down your hot water heater. Or you can put anti-scald devices on your taps.

For more information, call Safe Kids Canada at 1 800 SAFE TIPS or visit