Kidsafe SA

hot water burns like fire

Cups of hot tea/coffee and hot water from kettles are the most common causes of hospital admissions for childhood scalds. Scalds from hot water in baths are less common but usually more serious. Hot Water Pic1 Half of the children admitted to hospital with scalds need to have surgery for skin grafting. All these children will suffer scarring.

  • Hot Water Burns Like Fire


    A scald is a type of burn that is caused by hot water or other types of hot fluids, or steam. The severity of the burn depends on the temperature of the liquid, and the length of time the skin is exposed to the heat. Contact burns are due to contact with a hot surface, or flame. Scalds are the most common cause of burn injury in young children and account for three quarters of Hospital admissions for burns and scalds (VISAR 2004).

    Young children are more at risk of being burned and scalded, because they:

    • like to climb and are naturally curious
    • can move very fast
    • are more awkward
    • have a level of motor development which does not match their cognitive and intellectual development
    • don’t understanding danger
    • are reliant on adults to control their environment and keep it safe
    • have thinner skin than adults, so their skin burns more deeply in less time (WHO & UNICEF 2008)

    Click on 'view file' to download our Burns and Scalds Information Sheet.

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