Hot water can scald your child

If you have kids, you know that kids love to play with water. The kitchen sink, the bathroom sink and the tub are the favorite places to play.

The problem comes when a child accidentally turns on the hot water. If the pre-set temperature for the water heater is too high, a child is easily scalded by the water. If the temperature is set at 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), a scald takes only a few seconds. If it is set to 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), a scald is almost instantaneous.

A scald can be a serious injury because it can cover a lot of skin area. For example, your child can burn all of the skin on both hands. Having first-degree or second-degree burns covering that much surface area can be quite painful for your child.

The solution to this problem is extremely easy. Hot water heaters have adjustable thermostats on them. The thermostat may be out in the open, or behind a cover plate. Simply turn the temperature down to 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). At that temperature, the water is much safer for children. And for adults -- you too will be much safer in the shower.

Steps you can take

  • NEVER leave a child unattended in the tub.

  • Turn the thermostat on the hot water heater down to 120 degrees F. A day later, check the temperature of the hot water coming out of the tap with a thermometer.

  • See also the article on pots to avoid hot water scalds from falling pots and pans on the stove.

Additional Resources


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