The Dangers of Hot Liquids: How to Keep Children Safe This Winter

There’s nothing better than warming up with a hot cup of soup or cider when it gets cold outside. But, hot liquids can cause pediatric scald burns, with instant soups accounting for 1 in 5 pediatric scald burns every year. Seattle Children’s Hospital says, “Young children have thinner skin than older kids and adults, so they burn easier. Children ages 4 and under are at the most risk for scald burns because they like to explore and do not know what can hurt them.”


Allow hot soup to cool before serving to children

Why Hot Liquids are Dangerous for Young Children

Instant soups are responsible for nearly 10,000 pediatric burns every year. Pediatric burns happen fast, most within a matter of seconds. Seattle Children’s Hospital says, “Kids change so fast that parents and caregivers sometimes don’t know their child can reach hot liquids and foods that would have been at a safe distance only a short time before.”


Hot Liquid Facts:


  • Most burns affect the “trunk,” this is from the shoulders to the groin.

  • Most injuries happen to children between 4-7 years old.

  • Injuries include first-, second-, and third-degree burns.

  • Burns from noodles cause longer hospital stays than burns from other types of soups because noodles stay hotter longer.

  • Nearly 75% of all pediatric burns are preventable.



Why Children Get Pediatric Burns

Young children are especially curious, and most don’t know the meaning of the word hot. Children like to touch and taste anything they can get their hands on, so microwaves, countertops, tables, cups, bowls, and sinks quickly become dangerous. Children should always be supervised by an adult and kept away from hot liquids. Caregivers should also keep the floor clutter-free to avoid tripping and spilling hot liquids.


Pediatric burns happen quickly:


  • Children pull soup down from the microwave themselves.

  • Parents wrongly assume that instant soups are safer than soup coming out of a stove.

  • Uncoordinated walking while holding soup.

  • Children spill soup while eating.

  • Children get too close to the stove where hot steam or hot liquids are cooking.

  • Parents drink hot liquids without using a lid, and curious children grab for the drink.

  • Unsupervised children turn on the hot water in the kitchen or bathroom.