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When is Water Too Hot?

The New York State Consumer Protection Board has issued a directive urging consumers to make sure their children and loved ones are protected from extremely painful and possibly fatal scalding burns. Here are some helpful hints:

• Home water temperature should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

• All domestic hot water lines should have an anti-scald device installed to interrupt the flow of hot water when the temperature reaches a certain level.

• Bath water should be tested by an adult with their wrist or elbow before a child is placed into the bathtub. NEVER put a child into an empty bath tub before the water is run.

• Always place a child into the tub with his back to the faucets so that they cannot grab or turn them.

• Make certain that all faucets are clearly labeled “HOT” or “COLD”

• Have your landlord, superintendent or plumber make certain that the water line supplying the toilet is not on the same line as the cold water supply to the shower or sink. This will prevent a sudden lessening of cold water to the shower if the toilet is flushed while the shower is being run.

Children under 4 are at the greatest risk with an injury death rate of more than two times that of children ages 5 to 14. Children exposed to hot tap water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for three seconds will sustain a third-degree burn which will require hospitalization and skin grafts. Hot tap-water burns account for nearly one-fourth of all scalding burns among children and is associated with more deaths and hospitalizations than other hot liquid burns.

For a visual representation, please refer to the “Hot Water Burn & Scalding Graph” created by Accurate Building Inspectors. It does a great job demonstrating the relationship between temperature and the duration of exposure in water-burn injuries.

Hot Water Burn & Scalding Graph

Burn injuries can have a lifelong impact on all people, but especially children. These painful injuries can result in permanent nerve and tissue damage, as well as scarring and disfigurement. Sadly, many burn victims are unaware that they have legal recourse and may be able to recover money damages. If you or your child suffers burn injuries, it’s wise to contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.

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