Every year in the U.S. more that 2,000 infants and children are treated for hot water scalding. In total, hot water scalds account for around 20% of all burns that occcur in the home. Severe scalding can lead to secondary injuries such as heart attacks, falls, and broken bones, particularly among the elderly. Most scalding accidents occur in the kitchen and bathroom. Fortunately, almot all water scalding that occurs in the home is entirely preventable.
Set the Water Heater Temperature Correctly
Because infants, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns when exposed to overly hot water in the bath, one of the most important ways of preventing scalding is to ensure your water heater temperature is set to a safe temperature.
Most water heaters come factory set between 120°F to 140°F –this is too high for households with young children or the elderly. The chart below shows how the scalding risk and time it takes to cause a burn.
|Water Heater Thermostat Setting||Exposure Time||Effects of Exposure to Hot Water at High Temperatures|
|Water at 100 degF or below||–||Most water heaters are unlikely to scald|
|Water at 120 degF||5 minutes||2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin|
|Water at 130 degF||30 seconds||2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin|
|Water at 140 degF||5 seconds||2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin|
|Water at 150 degF||1.5 seconds||2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin|
|Water at 160 degF||.5 second||2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin|
Scald Protection Devices
Scald protection devices are a must in homes with young children, the elderly and the disabled. In many areas they are required to be installed to meet code requirements. While caution is the first line of defense to scald prevention, scald protection devices can help to maintain safer water temperatures.
Have questions about preventing hot water scalding in your home? Call Superior Plumbing ad Heating. We can insure your water heater is operating safely and install anti-scalding devices to keep your family safe from hot water scalding.