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Sat, Feb. 29

Hot water safety essential for children and seniors<BR>

The comfort and convenience of a hot shower or bath is something most people look forward to.

But safety measures should be followed, especially with children and elderly and handicapped people, to prevent serious burns, according to local health care professionals.

Julie Mitchell, a registered nurse at the Gardens Care Center, a skilled nursing care facility, said the water temperature at the center is always at a low temperature to avoid burns.

Showers and baths are always supervised at the center, but common sense measures at home can help prevent hot water burns.

"Always check the water first to make sure it is comfortable before getting in, Mitchell said.

Linda Holbrook, the new director of nurses at the Kingman Health Care Center said it is also a good idea to have hot and cold faucets labeled with big letters to avoid confusion, and to make sure faucets can easily be turned on and off.

"If hands are arthritic, it is hard to grip the faucet," she said.

Holbrook said that children and older people should have supervision when taking tub baths and that bath water should always be tested to make sure it is the right temperature, about 100 degrees.

Kids often cannot tell the hot from cold water faucets and may not be able to get out of hot water quickly and elderly and handicapped people are more fragile and prone to falling, she said.

The Safe America Foundation recommends the following measures:

• Keep hot liquids out of the reach of children.

When hot coffee or tea (usually over 160 degrees) and soup is spilled, it can cause severe injury.

Be sure to watch babies and toddlers carefully while you are cooking or enjoying a hot drink.

• Set your water heater thermostat at a safe level.

Many are set at 140 degrees or above.

Set your thermostat on low (approximately 120 degrees) to be safe, and to save 18 percent of the energy used at 140 degrees.

• Test your water temperature.

Run the hot water for three to five minutes and test with a candy, meat, or water thermometer.

Reset the temperature on your water heater.

Wait a day and then re-test and adjust, if necessary.

And, to conserve water, be sure to repair leaky faucets promptly.

One drop a second can waste as much as 60 gallons of hot or cold water in a week.

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