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American Families Unaware of Burn Dangers at Home
Date:2/9/2009

Home Safety Council(R) and H2otStop(R) Launch Burn Awareness Campaign to Teach Families How to Avoid This Hidden Hazard

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- New research conducted by the national nonprofit Home Safety Council and H2otStop reveals that, while most adults in America (82 percent) agree that there are actions they could take to reduce the risk of burns in their home, nearly half (44 percent) say they haven't done so because they don't believe burns are a serious danger where they live.

In the United States, more than 112,000 people enter a hospital emergency room each year with hot tap water scald burns.* Thousands more suffer injuries from hot foods and beverages heated on the stove or in the microwave. In response to these startling statistics, the Home Safety Council and H2otStop are working together to teach adults ways to protect themselves and their families from scald burn injuries at home.

"The new survey shows that people underestimate the threat hot water, liquid or steam burns pose to their loved ones, especially young children," said Marcy Guterman, Marketing Director, American Valve. "Water that is 120 degrees F or hotter can burn the skin like fire and cause a severe injury in just moments."

Key Findings:

Three in four survey respondents (75 percent) indicate that they or a family member has suffered a burn at home, yet most aren't taking steps to protect their family.

"Scald burn injuries can happen in the blink of an eye and clearly, the public is unaware of this danger," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. "From the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom, and even in the backyard, it is crucial that parents and caregivers take actions to reduce the risk of devastating and even fatal scald burns in their homes."

Families Do Not Understand the Risk of Scald Burns to Children

  • People underestimate the danger of scald burns for the very young. According to the American Burn Association, scald burns cause approximately 30 percent of all burns in all age groups. Scald burns occur most often in children under the age of five, yet fully two in five survey respondents thought that older children and adults were most at risk.
  • While 60 percent of Americans are most concerned about the potential for burns in the kitchen, only 8 percent feel this way about their bathrooms, where injuries from hot water are common.

Families Are Not Taking Action to Protect Themselves

According to the new survey, a majority of Americans (74 percent) have not taken any actions to reduce the danger of scald burns at home. When it comes to particular scald burn risks, the lack of action is compelling.

  • To prevent tap water burns, only a third of respondents (33 percent) have turned the hot water heater down below 120 degrees F, fewer than one in ten (7 percent) have tested the hot water temperature with a candy thermometer, and only a few (7 percent) have installed anti-scald devices, such as H2otStop.
  • To safeguard against burns in general, less than half of respondents (44 percent) keep children out of the kitchen or cooking area while cooking and only one in two adults (46 percent) say they avoid placing hot food and beverages on table cloths that can be pulled by children or pets.

Burn and Scald Prevention Tips:

Follow this simple advice from the Home Safety Council and H2otStop to help reduce the risk of burn and scald injuries at home:

Bathing

  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees F or just below the medium setting.
  • Fill the tub. Run your hand through the water to test for hot spots. Then help children get in.
  • When children are in or near the tub, watch them closely. Young children and older people have thin skin. They burn more quickly.
  • Install special tub spouts and shower heads, such as H2otStop, that prevent hot water burns. These sense if the water gets hot enough to cause a burn and shuts off the flow of water.

Cooking

  • Wear long oven mitts to protect your skin when cooking or handling hot food.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot pull them down. Use back burners when cooking.
  • Keep children away from the stove when you are cooking. Put tape on the floor to help children learn to stay out of the "no-kid-zone."
  • Food cooked in the microwave can get very hot and cause a burn. Use oven mitts when you take off the lid, stir and test the food before serving to make sure it is cool enough to eat.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not use tablecloths or placemats because young children can pull them down.
  • Use a "travel mug" with a tight-fitting lid for all hot drinks. This can help prevent a burn if the cup tips over.
  • Do not hold or carry a child while you have a hot drink in your hand. Put only cold drinks in the cup holder of your child's stroller and child safety seat.

Treating Burns

If a burn occurs:

  • Cool it with running water. Do this right away.
  • Keep the burned area in cool water for 3 minutes or longer. Do not put ice, butter or lotion on the burn. This could make it worse.
  • Call your doctor or 911 if the burn looks bad.

For more information, visit HomeSafetyCouncil.org or MySafeHome.org.

About the Home Safety Council

The Home Safety Council (HSC) is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preventing home related injuries that result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average each year. Through national programs, partnerships and the support of volunteers, HSC educates people of all ages to be safer in and around their homes. The Home Safety Council is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization headquartered in Washington, DC.

About H2otStop

American Valve, Inc. manufactures H2otStop shower heads and tub spouts which are designed to help prevent scald burns in the tub and shower. For over 100 years, the American Valve has represented innovative research and products, built with confidence and quality, in the plumbing, heating, and industrial flow control industry. For more information, visit www.H2otStop.com or call 1-877-531-7470.

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/NCEH/publications/books/housing/cha09.htm)

    Contact: Shannon McDaniel
             Brand Resources Group, Inc.
             For the Home Safety Council
             703.739.8341

             Marcy Guterman
             American Valve, Inc.
             336.668.0554


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SOURCE Home Safety Council
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