Scalding is a burn to the skin or flesh caused by hot liquid, moist heat or hot vapors such as steam. Scalding is a second-degree burn which is deep and results in splitting of skin layers or blistering. When the heat applied is approximately equivalent, a scald burn is deeper than a thermal or contact burn from dry heat and should be treated as a major burn. Healing is usually slower with scald burn injury and scar formation usually is greater.
Scald Burns at Home in Arizona
As many as 69% of burns occur at home. With scald burns, the vast majority occur in children under the age of 5. Many Arizona homeowners, landlords and apartment owners regulate their water at between 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit maximum, even though all code making bodies now mandate 120 degrees. Setting the temperature above 140 degrees provides no greater cleanliness or comfort than a 120 degree setting, but a child or elderly person, who have less resilient skin than younger adults, exposed to 140 degree liquid for even a few seconds will be scalded.
Many states, including Arizona now require new shower and bath fixtures to be installed with temperature regulating valves and some states require this for sinks as well. The National Safe Kids Campaign was instrumental in pushing through these requirements and a $15,000,000 settlement for a baby scalded in a bathroom sink got the attention of the plumbing contractor industry.
In addition, many products containing very hot liquid are designed unsafely and cause avoidable scalding. For example, a one year old gained access to a Rival Potpourri Pot on the floor and suffered severe burns. A jury awarded $2,200,000 against Rival for the negligent and defective design of the potpourri pot.