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Prevent Heat Burns in Young Children

Heat burns, also called thermal burns, are caused by contact with fire, steam, hot objects, or hot liquids. Children younger than age 5 are most often burned by hot liquids (scalding). Tap water is a leading cause of nonfatal burns.

Protect your child from heat burns in the following ways:

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  • Keep children away from kitchen appliances, irons, fireplaces, portable heaters, or wall heaters. Use screens to block off areas, if needed. When outdoors, keep your child away from barbecue grills and campfires.
  • Install scald-resistant faucets in sinks, showers, or bathtubs that children use. These fixtures have built-in thermostats to control the maximum temperature of the water. Set the thermostat so that the water temperature does not exceed 120°F (48.9°C).
  • Use kitchen range dial protectors, which prevent a child from turning on the heating elements of a stove.
  • Cook with pot handles turned away from the edge of the stove and on the back burner when possible, out of the reach of children.
  • Be careful not to spill hot beverages when carrying or drinking them around children.
  • Consider buying pajamas made of flame-resistant fabric for your child.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised November 30, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 30, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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