Preventing scald burns



  • Hot liquids are the most common cause of burns in young children
  • Hot liquids such as coffee, tea, soup and hot water can cause serious painful scald burns very quickly
  • A child’s skin is more sensitive to hot temperatures than adult skin, therefore burns quicker
  • 75% of all scald burns involve children under 4 years old age
Prevention tips

Prevention tips

  • Adequate and constant supervision is the single most important factor in preventing scald burn
  • Set your hot water heater 60C and have a plumber install mixing valves to lower the temperature of water at the faucet to 49C (Hydro Quebec, 2015)
  • Fill the tub to desired level and turn hot water off first
  • Check the water temperature before putting children in a bathtub. The safest temperature for bathing is about 100ºF (37ºC)
  • Seat the children facing away from the faucets so they cannot reach them
  • Never leave children unattended near water
  • Children under 8 years of age should not use microwaves without adult supervision
  • Turn all pot/pan handles inward when cooking
  • Discourage your toddler from helping you cook at the stove
  • Make sure the electrical cord of a kettle is not within children’s reach
  • Avoid carrying or picking up a child when holding hot liquids
  • Keep all hot liquids out of reach of children, do not place them on low coffee or end tables 
  • Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths as children will pull on them
  • When removing lid from hot food, remember that steam may have accumulated. Lift the cover or lid away from the face and arms
  • Never heat baby bottles of formula or milk in the microwave, especially those with plastic bottle liners, they can burst, pouring scalding liquids onto the baby.
  • Do not put hot drinks in cup holders on baby carriage
  • Never cook at the stove, barbecue or campfire while holding your child in your arms
  • Put down hot drinks before picking up or carrying a child
In case of a burn

In case of a burn

Quick tips on how to stop the burning process. If you get a burn do the following: 

  • Remove all diapers and clothing from around the burn area. These items will retain heat, which will increase the damage to the skin. If material is adherent (stuck) to the skin, cool the area with lukewarm water and seek medical attention. 
  • Run lukewarm—not cold—water over the burn area for a few minutes. A cool wet towel can also be applied.
  • Never apply ice to the burn. This can make the burn worse.
  • Never apply creams, ointments or salves or butter
  • Never break blisters
  • Cover with a clean dry cloth
  • Go to the nearest Emergency Department, or call 911 if it is severe

Reviewed by Trauma Specialists

January 2016


Phone : 514-412-4400 ext. 23310

Fax : 514-412-4254

514-412-4499, Emergency Department (for patient transfer) / 514-412-4399 (fax)