Scalds and young children
By Ben Waterworth
While burns amongst children are a serious cause for concern, as parents you should also be wary and vigilant when it comes to your children being scalded by hot items also. While a scald is in no way as serious as a burn, they can still cause great pain for the child and lead to some pretty extensive injuries. It's a known fact that one in five children admitted to hospital for a scald will face serious injury so it's extremely important to know some basic facts and advice when it comes to treating scalds and what to do in the event of a scalding occurring.
Hot Water Taps
Scalds are most common from hot water and hot water taps. Children generally are inquisitive creatures and will touch anything they find interesting, so they may go straight to a hot water tap as it is silver and shiny and if it has just been used then this will cause them a potentially serious injury. As their skin isn't as developed as ours and is weaker as well, it is more easily burnt so this is obviously a serious risk. Always keep your children away from taps after they have just been used and use a temperature control when it comes to using your hot water with your children.
General safety with hot water taps

  • Always control the temperature of your hot water to around 50 degrees and it should never be higher than that
  • Never place you child into hot water without testing the temperature first
  • Place child safe taps on your taps to prevent curious children from turning taps on and risking themselves injury
  • Never leave a child alone in a bathroom or in a kitchen where taps can be reached. This goes for when you are bathing the children as well
  • Always turn taps off as tight as possible

Scalds from food and drinks
Scalds from hot drinks usually happens when a curious little child will reach up to a bench to grab a cup which is filled with hot water, and this hot water then spills all over them causing them immediate pain and scalding. You should always place cups with hot drink in them away from edges and away from where kids can grab them easily as this is the easiest way to prevent injuries from occurring. It can also occur when children do the same with pots and pans on ovens so you should once again never leave handles poking out where children can grab them and pull them down on themselves. Here are some further tips for items in your home that can cause scalds:
Kettles & Jugs

  • Never have kettles and jugs directly near a bench where your child could grab a cord and pull it down on top of themselves
  • Why not invest in a cordless kettle? This way the kettle only requires a power cord and it will be more convenient for you in the long run
  • Get a curly cord for the power point or make sure you tie up the cord so your child cannot reach it

Hot Beverages

  • Place them in the centre of a table so your child cannot reach them at all
  • Use mats on your table that are non-slip instead of table cloths as your child might pull at a table cloth until the hot cup falls on top of them
  • Let the child have their own mug so they won't attempt to drink from yours
  • Use mugs that have lids on them such as traveller mugs or mini thermoses so that the outside of them aren't hot either
  • Put your child down when you are having a hot drink

Pans & Pots

  • Never have your children in the kitchen with you whilst cooking
  • Place a gate in your kitchen doorway to prevent your child from coming in whilst cooking
  • Put your kids in a playpen to occupy themselves when you cook
  • Never hold your child while you are dealing with hot items such as kettles and pots
  • Put a microwave up nice and high so your child can't access it
  • Put a stove guard on your stove for better protection
  • Always have handles turned away from where your child can reach them

Basic first aid for scalds

  1. Always take off any wet clothes to help the heat escape from the skin, although do not remove if it is stuck to the skin
  2. Place the scald under cold water straight away and do it for 20 minutes. Never use ice as this can cause more damage
  3. Always make sure you keep your child warm to prevent shock
  4. Take your child to the doctor if the scald is on any of the sensitive areas of the body such as face, genitals, feet, hands or buttocks and is larger than a 20c piece