The American Burn Association (ABA) estimates that approximately 450,000 people suffer a burn injury that requires medical treatment every year. In addition, about 3,500 people die annually as a result of the fire and burn-related incidents, which are often due to residential fires, contact with chemicals or hot liquids, and more. Of those that require hospitalization and treatment, it is estimated that 31 percent are due to scalding injuries. A scalding injury is a burn that results from a spill, immersion, splash, or contact with hot water, beverages, food, or steam.
Who Suffers from Scald Burns?
The majority of scalding injuries involve children under the age of five, the elderly, and individuals that have a disability.
The majority of scalding injuries involve children under the age of five, the elderly, and individuals that have a disability. In general, the elderly are particularly at risk of suffering scalding injuries because their skin is typically less sensitive and their reaction times are slower, which can result in a tendency to not pull away from hot water quickly enough in order to prevent scalding. Their thinner skin can also burn more quickly.
Depending on the temperature of the water, the time in which it takes to sustain a serious injury can vary. For example, in just one second of exposure, water that is 150 degrees Fahrenheit can cause third-degree burns, while it would take about 30 seconds of exposure to 130 degrees Fahrenheit water to sustain comparable injuries.
Preventing Scalding Injuries
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) encourages people to lower the temperature settings on their water heaters to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to reduce the risk of most tap water-related scalding injuries. At this temperature, it would take about eight minutes of exposure to suffering a second-degree burn, and about 10 minutes for third-degree burns to be suffered.
There are several other safety measures that can be taken in order to prevent scald burns, including the following:
- Always supervise children when in the bathroom and kitchen and never leave them unattended, especially when bathing;
- If an oil or grease fire occurs in the kitchen, do not use water to put it out - doing so may cause the liquid to splash or cause steam that may result in scalding injuries;
- Make sure kitchen appliances, water heaters, and plumbing are maintained properly to prevent explosions, which may result in scald injuries;
- Test all hot liquid and food before giving it to a child;
- Test water in baths and showers before getting in, particularly before children enter the water;
- When cooking with hot liquids, keep pot handles turned towards the back of the stove so they cannot be reached by children; and
- When drinking hot liquids, use spill-resistant cups, particularly when around children.
Legal and Medical Experience On Your Side
While following these safety steps can prevent scalding accidents from occurring, unfortunately, oftentimes these procedures are not followed, which can result in catastrophic injuries. Anytime someone suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, they may be able to receive compensation to cover expenses such as hospital and medical bills, lost time away from work, pain and suffering, and more.
If you have sustained a scalding injury in Nebraska due to another person’s negligent or wrongful actions, it may be in your best interests to consult with a highly skilled personal injury lawyer. At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our Omaha personal injury attorneys are also doctors, giving us a unique understanding of both your medical and legal situation. We can help determine whether you have a valid case, as well as advise you on the best course of action based upon the specifics of your situation. Contact us at (402) 882-7080 to get started with one of our knowledgeable lawyers today.