Preventing Burns and Scalds
Most Canadian hot water tanks are pre-set to a temperature of 60°C or 140°F. At this temperature, a child’s skin can be severely scalded in just seconds.
To prevent this from happening, check the temperature of the hot water coming from your faucets. Lower the temperature on your hot water tank until the tap water is no more than 49° C (120° F).
To find out how hot your water is at the faucet:
- Run the hot water for two minutes. If you have been using a lot of hot water, wait a couple of hours for the tank to heat up again.
- Fill a cup with hot water from the tap and test the temperature using a thermometer that reads high temperature, like a candy or meat thermometer.
To prevent burns and scalds when bathing children:
- Never leave your child in the tub without adult supervision.
- When filling the bath, always start and finish with cold water. This will help to prevent the faucets from getting too hot. As well, if the child does happen to turn on the tap, cold water will come out first.
- Face your child away from the taps to reduce the chance of having your child turn them on.
- Drain the water immediately after the bath.
Other Tips to protect your child from burns:
- Do not drink hot liquids when feeding or carrying your baby or child.
- Do not leave hot liquids within reach of children. Keep them at the very back of the counter.
- Use a cup with an attached lid.
- Check the temperature of all heated foods and drinks before feeding infants and young children.
- Keep all electrical outlets covered when not in use.
- Keep all appliances, such as hairdryers, electric razors, and radios, away from bathtubs and sinks.
- Turn pot handles inward and use the back elements of the stove when cooking.
- Keep a hot oven inaccessible by using an oven lock or marking the area around the stove off with duct tape on the floor. Call this the “no-go” zone and teach children that this area is for adults only.
- Keep radiators, fireplaces, and heaters out of children’s reach.
- Keep lighters and matches out of sight and reach of children. Lock them in a cupboard, or inside a locked toolbox, out of reach. Do not use lighters and matches in front of children.
- All residences are required to have one smoke alarm outside every sleeping area in the home, but it is strongly recommended to have a smoke alarm on each floor of the house as well. If any members of the family sleep with their bedroom doors shut, then there should also be a smoke detector in their bedroom.
Make a fire escape plan with your family and practice it often.
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