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Showers and baths are supposed to soothe and cleanse, not scald. For children and the elderly, bath time can be treacherous if the water is too hot. When we’re very young and very old, our skin is thinner and easier to burn than when we’re in our prime. And seniors are less agile, so they can have a hard time escaping scalding water.

A few simple precautions could save someone in your home from scalds:

  • Set the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Many households set theirs at 140 degrees, hot enough to cause a third-degree burn in just three seconds. It takes 15 seconds at 120 to cause the same burn. Safety experts suggest that 100 degrees Fahrenheit is the safest temperature for bath and shower water.
  • Children should not play with the faucets while bathing.
  • Never put a child under running water. If someone is using water elsewhere in the house, a sudden temperature spike can burn the child.
  • Never leave a child in a bath unattended.
  • Test the water’s temperature with your hands or elbow before getting in.

Turn a single-handle tap to the cold position after every use so the next bather won’t get drenched with hot water.


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