Augusta, GA – Hot chocolate can be a tasty treat to warm you up on a cold winter day, but it and other hot liquids can cause scald burns if they land on skin. The Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital wants to make people aware of how to avoid these injuries as part of Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 7 to Feb. 13.

According to the American Burn Association, close to half of all burn injuries treated in hospital emergency departments and one-third of admissions to burn centers are scald injuries. More than 60 percent of all scald injuries are experienced by young children and 75 percent of the burns that children suffer are scalds.

Scalds are caused by hot liquids, such as hot chocolate, hot coffee, food from the microwave, steam and hot water, such as from the shower or bath. “Burn Awareness week is a time to remind ourselves of the simple measures that we can do to prevent burns such as those caused by scalds,” says Tanya Simpson, Vice-President of Burn Services at Doctors Hospital.

Here are some tips for preventing scald injuries:

  • Mark and explain a “kid-free zone” in the kitchen around the sink and the stove.
  • Use spill-resistant “travel mugs”
  • Never hold a child in your arm while preparing or serving hot food, or drinking a hot beverage 
  • Keep hot food and liquids high and out of the reach of young children
  • Never leave children alone in the tub.
  • Turn children away from the faucets in the tub.
  • Establish safe hot water temperature (Recommended max for homes is 120 degrees). If this is not possible, install tempering valve or safe faucet and shower heads   
  • Install non-slip bath, shower mats, and grab bar in shower stall

If a scald burn happens in your home, here are some key things to do:

  • Remove scald victim from source of scald 
  • Remove all affected clothing, diapers, shoes, etc.
  • Cool scalded area briefly with cool water 
  • Cover with clean, dry covering 
  • Do not apply creams, salves or ointments 
  • Call 9-1-1

The Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital is a 59-bed burn center that admits over 3,000 patients annually from throughout the Southeast, and 7.6 percent of the nation’s burn patients.