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Burns and Scalds
Awareness Survey

Commissioned by the Home Safety Council and H2otStop

When getting into a shower or bath, people rarely think about getting burned. In fact, more than 75 percent of adults have little or no concern about hot tap water as a home danger, according to research conducted by Kelton on behalf of H2otStop and the national nonprofit Home Safety Council. However, each year approximately 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths occur in the home due to scalding from excessively hot tap water.

The national survey clearly demonstrates the public's lack of knowledge about hot water dangers, as the majority of American families fail to take the simple steps needed to protect themselves and loved ones from tap water burns.

Key Findings:

Although nearly one in five (14 percent) respondents stated that they or one of their family members have been burned while bathing, more than 40 percent of adults do not worry about hot water burns at all.

It takes only one second for a child under the age of five to receive third-degree burns from water that's 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter.

Families Uninformed about Serious Risk of Hot Water Burns

  • While it can take only seconds for a child to be injured by 140 degree Fahrenheit water, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents underestimate how fast a scald can happen.
  • When asked about the correct temperature for their hot water heater, only 38 percent of adults were able to cite the proper setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Nearly 40 percent claimed to have no idea what the correct temperature would be.
  • Despite the increased threat of injury to young children, nearly 80 percent of parents surveyed with young children have not turned their hot water heaters to the correct temperature setting.

Households Engage in Dangerous Hot Water Practices

While 81 percent of respondents say they feel water with their hand before entering a shower or bath, very few respondents follow all necessary safety measures to prevent burns, including:

  • Turning the hot water heater down below 120 degrees Fahrenheit (17 percent);
  • Installing an anti-scald device (4 percent); or
  • Testing hot water temperature with a candy thermometer (4 percent).
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