Thursday, January 17, 2019 5:32 PM

How To Prevent Scald Burns (Burns Caused by Liquid or Steam)

During the winter, emergency rooms see more and more injuries involving liquid or steamed burns, known as scalds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists scald burns as the second leading cause of all burn injuries with more than 300 children ages 0 to 19 treated in the emergency room every day.

This increase is caused by a change in human behavior because of the change in weather.

“It’s becoming cold outside and people are reaching for the hot coffee, tea and soup," said Shana Henry, RN, BSN, PHN.

"This change in behavior creates an increased risk for burns. Often time injuries occur when people are sitting on the couch or somewhere other than a kitchen table when eating or drinking these items.”

Reduce the risk for scald burns with these tips

  • If your soup comes in a microwavable cup where water is added, after heating the soup pour out one third of the water and allow for it to cool by sitting 3-5 minutes.
  • Always eat hot soup and other liquids at a table.
  • Coffee drinkers should put your coffee in a travel mug with a lid when on the go.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves while cooking.
  • Always turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge and use dry oven mitts or potholders.

How to protect children from scald burns

Babies and young children are especially at risk for scald burns – they’re curious, small and have sensitive skin that needs extra protection. Scald burns can happen in the blink of an eye. A toddler can grab or knock a cup filled with hot liquid off the table or from a parent’s hand and spill it on themselves.
The National Fire Protection Association provides the tips below to help keep your child safe.
  • Ask for help! Teach children to always look for an adult or older person to assist them when handling hot items.
  • Be cautious before bath time. Before placing a child in the bath or getting in the bath yourself, test the water by moving your hand, wrist and forearm through the water. It should feel warm, not hot to the touch. Water should be less than 100.
  • Create a kid-free cooking area. Place hot liquids and food in the center of a table or toward the back of a counter. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are being prepared.

Watch Shana Henry, RN, BSN, PHN, provide more stay safe tips on preventing scald burns on MedWatch Today: