- Moser WJ, et al. https://bit.ly/3q47hVJ.
Nearly all bathing-related scald burns among children treated at a Chicago burn center involved running water, a 10-year retrospective study showed.
Scald injuries are the most common type of burn in children, according to the American Burn Association. Efforts to prevent pediatric scald burns from water have focused on safety when bathing infants and toddlers. The AAP recommends that tap water not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, adults should check the water temperature on the inside of their wrist or elbow before bathing and never leave the child alone.
The study authors noted that anecdotally they have seen running water to be a common risk factor for burns. Therefore, they sought to determine how many bathing-related scald burn injuries seen at their institution were related to running water.
They analyzed data collected by child protective services on children younger than 3 years who were admitted to the burn unit with bathing-related scald injuries from 2010-’20. Those with abusive or indeterminate burns were excluded.
Of the 101 cases identified, 53 patients were male. The mean age was 13 months, and the mean length of stay was eight days.
Running water was involved in 95% of the cases. In addition, a caregiver did not check the temperature of the water in 54% of cases, and 39% of the children were left unattended.
Twenty-nine percent of the cases involved all three risk factors, while 2% had none of these risk factors. In the cases with one risk factor, 95% involved running water.
“This demonstrates that even when caregivers checked the temperature of the water and were present for the duration of the bath, running water alone still resulted in bathing scald burns,” the authors wrote.
The data, they said, support the need to update safe bathing recommendations to highlight the risk of running water. They also called for government regulations, including setting maximum temperatures for water heaters.