Guest Post: Hot Water Safety Tips

Protect your family from scalding hot water by adjusting your hot water heater settings.

Blue PinwheelAs a parent, it’s an exciting day when your child is responsible enough to bathe him or herself. Whether your kiddo prefers a bath or a shower though, some safety precautions are necessary to ensure that he or she doesn’t get scalded by too-hot water, even after they have reached the age where they can be trusted to wash behind the ears.

According to the Burn Foundation, 500,000 scalding injuries occur annually in the United States, with kids under five years-old at high risk. The good news is that by adjusting your settings, you can ensure that the water will never be scalding hot. Read on for some hot water safety tips for your hot water heater.

Hot Water Heater Settings, Source: Photodune

Hot tap water, which causes 17 percent of burn and scalding injuries, can cause a third-degree burn in just five seconds at a temperature of 140 degrees.

The easy fix?

Set your water heater temperature to no higher than 120 degrees. Most people bathe at a temperature no hotter than 100 degrees, and 110 is plenty hot enough to effectively wash dishes and laundry. In addition to keeping your kids safe, you’ll also be saving energy by making the switch to a lower temperature. If you’re not sure of your hot water settings, run your sink at the hottest setting for five minutes and place a thermometer under the stream. And if you live in an apartment and don’t have access to your water heater, talk with your landlord about adjusting the settings to a safe level.

Beyond adjusting your water heater settings, doing your due diligence as a parent can go a long way toward preventing scalding injuries. Always test the water before your child gets into the bathtub; if it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for their sensitive skin. And never leave a child younger than age five unattended in the bathtub. Avoid bathing infants in the sink, where it’s easier to accidentally turn the hot water on.

Consider installing safety devices on your faucets. These mechanisms keep your child from accidentally turning on the hot water, preventing them from receiving an accidental burn. As parents, we are very careful to make sure our kids don’t have access to any type of flame; matches, for example, or the stovetop. However, the fact is that many more burn injuries happen because of hot water than because of open flames.

About the Guest Post Author

Tim Smith writes for

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