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Preventing Burns and Scalds

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Preventing Burns and Scalds

Young children are hospitalised due to burns more often than any other age group, and these burns or scalds often happen in the home. Unfortunately these injuries can occur in many different ways as little ones have a curious nature and like to explore things around them; here are some hazards to consider:

  • Your toddler accidentally pulling hot food and drinks over themselves
  • Fats and oils splattering whilst cooking
  • Bath water heated to unsafe temperatures or hot water taps being turned on whilst your child is in the tub
  • Pulling hot liquids from microwaves and saucepans
  • Contact burns from hot clothing or hair irons
  • Unguarded heaters and fireplaces.

To help reduce the risk of your toddler being in danger of burns or scalds at home here are some simple steps you can take:

Hot liquids

  • Avoid using tablecloths as these can be pulled by little hands, spilling any hot liquids from the table above
  • Do not hold your toddler while you are preparing or holding a hot drink
  • Keep your little one away from the stove while you’re cooking to prevent injury from splattering oils and fats.

Baths and Showers

  • When running a bath or a shower, turn the cold water on first then the hot. When finished turn the hot water off first followed by the cold
  • Use a bath thermometer or insert your elbow to check the temperature before putting your toddler in the bath or shower1i, the water should be between 37-38⁰C
  • Temperature control devices are a great way to ensure your water is never greater than 50⁰C. Be sure to contact a licensed plumber to install one for you.

To find out more about, read our article on Bath Time Safety.


  • When heating food for meals or snacks, pay attention to the recommended cooking times on the label
  • Don’t use a microwave to heat your toddler’s milk as this can heat unevenly and scald their mouth.


  • Use the rear elements of the stove and turn saucepan handles to the back of the stove
  • Push all your kitchen appliances to the rear of the bench and empty unused water from the kettle immediately after use
  • Don’t throw water on burning oil as this can spread the fire and cause serious burns
  • Store your matches and lighters in a secure place out of reach.

Irons, Cords and Electrical outlets

  • Damaged or frayed electrical cords should be thrown away
  • Be sure to put hot irons and the attached cords away and out of reach immediately after use
  • Use an iron that has an automatic shut off or an alarm setting when not being used
  • Cover all electrical outlets that little fingers can reach.


  • Choose an electric heater that has a safety switch to turn off if heater tips over
  • Alternative heating choices such as reverse cycle heating/air conditioning maybe a safer option for your family
  • Use guards around open fires, gas or electric heaters prevents your little ones from getting too close.

If your little one does get a burn or scald seek medical help immediately.

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