Hot Water Safety – Six ways to prevent burns and scalds to children


In 2016 6,637 children were so badly burned and scalded that they had to be treated by a specialist burns unit. Burns obtained from hot water are no less serious than those caused by fire and flames. They happen fast, too.  It takes only one second for a burn to occur from a water temperature of 70 degrees, and only six seconds from water heated to 60 degrees.

There are a number of ways parents can ensure their child is safe around hot water and prevent serious injuries from happening. Some of these may seem obvious, however a burn is for life and the devastating number of accidents seen each year show that greater awareness is needed.

We have rounded up our top tips for hot water safety.

  1. When you run a bath, put cold water in first, and then top up with hot water until you reach the desired, safe temperature.
  1. Many burns and scalds occur when babies and children are left alone in the bath or bathroom, when they can accidently knock or play with the hot taps. Never leave babies or young children unattended.
  1. Pipes, radiators and towel rails are all common causes of burns and scalds. Cover any low-level hot pipes with insulating material if you can, in case children fall against or touch them.
  1. FitThermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV’s) on taps and showers. TMV’s control the temperature of the hot tap, meaning you can still have a nice hot bath but they stop the risk of children being scalded within seconds. Some newer houses and flats have TMV’s installed on taps already, however they can be installed in any bathroom by a professional plumber. Our Hot Water Burns like Fire campaign alongside the Bathroom Manufacturers Association aims to raise awareness of installing TMV’s in homes to prevent burns and scalds occurring.
  1. Use a thermometer in the bath to check the temperature of the water before putting babies and children in. The safe bath temperature for babies is 37 degrees.
  1. Use our Learning Zone to talk to children about burn and scald prevention from an early age. Educating children on hot water safety can help to reduce the number of children burned and scalded each year. Hot Spots is the “fun-ucational” app that will teach you and your children the dangers in and around the home!

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