Tap water scald burns account for 7% to 17% of all childhood scald burns that require hospitalization. Often the burns are severe and disabling. Toddlers and preschool children are the most frequent victims. In 45% of the injuries, the unsupervised victim or a peer turned on the tap water; in 28% the cause was abuse. Eighty per cent of the homes tested had unsafe bathtub water temperatures of 54°C (130°F) or greater, exposing the occupants to the risk of full thickness scalds with 30 second exposure to hot water. Such burns may be prevented passively by limiting household water temperatures to less than 52°C (125°F). New water heaters could be preset at this temperature and families could be taught to turn down the temperature on existing units.
- child abuse
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