The Nassau County Fire Fighters Burn Center Foundation is a non-profit organization of firefighters founded in 1991, dedicated to the advancement of burn care, research, prevention and education.

Nassau County Fire Fighters Burn Center Foundation

Nassau County, Long Island, New York


The Nassau County Fire Fighters Burn Center Foundation is a non-profit organization of firefighters founded in 1991, dedicated to the advancement of burn care, research, prevention, education and the proper treatment of burns.

How to prevent scalding burns

Whether minor or serious, burns are painful. So we teach our kids not to play with matches and tell them not to touch the stove. But burns don't come only from open flames and hot objects. Liquids -- such as coffee, tea, soup and even a hot bath -- can scald, causing serious burns. According to the Burn Prevention Foundation, scalds are the number one cause of burn injury to children under age 4.

Many scalding injuries could be prevented with a little foresight. Take these precautions to make your home safer.

In the Kitchen

  • Never leave cooking unattended. Cook on the stove's rear burner whenever possible and turn pot handles toward the rear of the stove, out of the reach of young hands.


  • Keep young children out of the kitchen when you're handling hot liquids. If possible, occupy toddlers in a playpen or a high chair, where they can be supervised easily and restrained.


  • Don't drink hot liquids while holding your child. Children move fast and can easily bump your cup or bowl, spilling burning liquid onto themselves or you.


  • Keep the cords short on appliances such as electric teapots and deep-fat fryers; long cords can be tripped over or pulled.


  • Don't use a tablecloth around young children, who may pull on it and bring hot food down on themselves.


  • Don't let the microwave mislead you. It may not get hot to the touch, but the foods and liquids we cook in it can cause serious burns. So when you use your microwave, remember to:

    • Follow the printed instructions when microwaving packaged foods. If the instructions say to not microwave the food, take the extra few minutes to warm it conventionally.


    • Remove the lid carefully when taking a dish out of the microwave. The steam that has built up inside the dish can cause a nasty burn.


    • Don't let children use the microwave until they're old enough to follow directions and handle hot foods carefully. Even then, it's best to supervise them.


    • Stir and test food before serving it to eliminate the quot;hot spots" often caused by microwaving. This especially is important with baby food. Don't use the microwave to warm a baby's bottle. The hot spots could scald a tender young mouth.

In the Bathroom

  • Your hot water heater should be turned down as low as possible -- it should never be above 120 degrees F. (If you have a dishwasher, consult the operator's manual for the lowest effective water temperature setting.) Water at 133 degrees F can cause third-degree burns in just 15 seconds.


  • Test the water. Never put a baby or child in a bathtub before testing the water yourself. Test the water with your elbow or the back of your wrist -- not your hand, which isn't as sensitive. Water temperature should be 100 degrees F or lower.


  • Never leave children unattended in the bath. Aside from the danger of drowning, your child could receive a life-threatening scald in just a few seconds if he or she manages to turn on the hot water.

If a scalding burn occurs, examine it to see what type of burn it is. Your child may need to see a doctor immediately:

  • Check the burn to see if the skin is intact and whether the burned area hurts when touched. The most serious burns are deeper ones with loss of skin and sensation. Seek emergency treatment if you notice discoloration under extensive areas of peeling skin.


  • Second- and third-degree burns leave skin blistered and charred. These burns require immediate medical attention.


  • A first-degree burn leaves skin red and slightly swollen. If the burn covers a large part of the body, you need to see a doctor immediately. Otherwise, you can treat a first-degree burn at home by immersing it in cold water and then covering it with burn ointment, petroleum jelly or a thin layer of baking soda. Do not put butter, margarine or a greasy substance on the burn. Loosely bandage the area, allowing exposure to air


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