Scalds and burns

Most scalds and burns happen in the kitchen and bathroom.

Keep safe at home

Young children and older people are most at risk – but everyone should follow our simple advice.  

Hot drinks cause most scalds to children under five – but hot bath water causes the highest number of severe scalding injuries among young kids. 

That’s why you should never leave young children alone in the bathroom. Also, when you’re running a bath, turn the cold water on first and always test the water temperature with your elbow.

The kitchen is where some of the most serious home accidents occur. Follow this advice:

  • Use an electric deep-fat fryer rather than a chip pan. Fill your pan a third full and keep an eye on it
  • Use a coiled flex or a cordless kettle 
  • Always use rear hotplates and turn the panhandles away from the front of the cooker
  • If you have kids under five, keep them out of the kitchen whenever possible. 

Here are some more pointers:

  • Never hold a hot drink and a child at the same time
  • Put hot drinks out of reach and away from the edge of the table or worktop – a hot drink can still scald a child 15 minutes after being made 
  • Hobs and hotplates stay hot after they’ve been turned off, so keep children away
  • Keep matches, lighters and candles out of reach 
  • Keep hair straighteners and curling tongs out of reach and out of sight. 

For older people, most serious accidents happen in the kitchen. It’s important to take precautions:

  • Try not to carry hot liquids further than necessary. Re-arrange your tea/coffee-making area if you have to. 
  • If you use a spout-filling or jug kettles, only boil enough water for what you need 
  • Try wall-mounted heaters instead of kettles
  • Ensure hot water bottles don’t show signs of wear and tear.

Sheila Merrill, public health advisor for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), said: “It’s important to look after yourself and your family, particularly in the kitchen and the bathroom. 

“In the kitchen, young children climb on chairs and counters, so supervise them at all times. Older tenants may be more frail, or may have health problems, so it’s important to take care.”

For more information, visit Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

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