How to Prevent Scalds at Home

In the Kitchen

  • Plan ahead before cooking. Wear short- or tight-sleeved garments while cooking.
  • Plug ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance; it can trip the user, which can cause hot food spills. Keep all appliance cords coiled and away from counter edges.
  • When deep frying, prevent contact of water and steam with hot oil; allow hot oil to cool before removal.
  • To prevent spills, turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge and use the back burner when possible.
  • Only use dry oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens, or stovetops.
  • During meals, place hot items in the center of the table; use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths.
  • Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for 3–5 minutes and immediately seek medical attention.

Use Microwave Ovens Safely

  • Place the microwave oven at a safe height, within easy reach of all users, and lower than the face of the person using the microwave.
  • Heat foods only in containers or dishes that are safe for microwave use. Never microwave uncracked eggs.
  • To prevent steam build-up, remove tight lids on food containers, puncture plastic wraps, or use vented containers.
  • Let cooked food stand for 1-2 minutes before removing from microwave oven.
  • Open heated food containers slowly, away from face or hands, to avoid steam scalds.
  • Foods heat unevenly in microwave ovens; stir and test before eating.

Bathrooms and Sinks

  • Adjust thermostat on water heater to keep hot water <120°F. Install anti-scald tempering valves or thermostatic mixing valves.
  • Before using, check water temperature with a kitchen thermometer or test with your elbow, wrist, or hand with spread fingers.
  • Start to fill bathtub with cold water and slowly mix with hot water. Avoid running water in other rooms during this time (it might increase the temperature of the water filling the bathtub) and turn off the hot water first.

* Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adapted from recommendations of the American Burn Association and the National Fire Protection Association