Every day about 300 young children are taken to emergency rooms around the country suffering from burns caused by household water that is too hot. In just a few seconds, water at 140º can give a child third degree burns, which would require hospitalization and skin grafts. Young children are at particularly high risk due to their tender skin.
Nearly 90% of deaths due to scalding tap water occur in bathtubs. These types of burns occur when children are left unattended in the tub; placed in water that is too hot; in the tub when another child turns on the hot water; or fall into the bathtub.
The dangers posed by extremely hot water, however, are not limited to children. The elderly and disabled are likely to be scalded as a result of slower reaction time or instability that makes it more difficult for them to move away from water that is too hot. More than half of all tap water scalds are sustained by people over age 75.
Setting a water heater at 120º can prevent most tap water burns. Comfortable bath water, for example, is between 100º and 105º. Also, faucets and showerheads can be modified or designed to contain anti-scald devices that do not discharge water at temperatures above 120º.
A burn is a devastating injury. Take time to control the water temperature in your home.