Child Scalds Hand on Hot Water Dispenser in Lobby

Loss Amount: $16,000

What Happened: A woman brought her three-year old son with her to the veterinarian’s office to have their cat treated. While she was talking with staff in the lobby her son noticed a water dispenser elsewhere in the lobby. It was equipped with a hot water feature intended for clients to make coffee or tea. The boy reached up and turned it on with his hand under the water stream. Almost immediately he received third degree burns on the back of his hand, causing his skin to blister and peel. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and treated.

Burns are painful injuries and the healing process takes several months. Fortunately, in this case, the treatment was very successful and the scarring is expected to fade away as the boy grows older.

Lesson Learned: Scalding occurs all too frequently and the water temperature doesn’t have to be boiling for it to happen. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most adults will suffer third-degree burns if exposed to 150-degree water for two seconds, 140-degree water for six seconds and 130-degree water for 30 seconds. Children are especially sensitive, as their skin reacts much more quickly to the high temperatures.

This accident occurred for two reasons: the water was excessively hot and there was unrestricted access. To address these concerns the following safeguards should be taken:

  • Do not place hot items, such as coffee makers or hot water dispensers, within reach of children.
  • Test water temperatures and adjust them if needed. For sinks and baths, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that tap water temperatures not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A cooking thermometer can be used for this test. Depending on the type of water heater being used, adjustment of the thermostat may require assistance from the local utility company

For further assistance in preventing all types of losses, call VISC at 888.762.3143.