Phoenix Society, NFPA provide scald prevention tips during soup season

NFPA’s tip sheet on scald prevention

  • Teach children that hot things can burn.
  • Test the water at the faucet. It should be less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).
  • Always supervise a child in or near a bathtub.  Before placing a child in the bath or getting in the bath yourself, test the water. Test the water by moving your hand, wrist and forearm through the water. The water should feel warm, not hot, to the touch.
  • Place hot liquids and food in the center of a table or toward the back of a counter.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
  • Allow microwaved food to cool before eating and open it slowly, away from the face.
  • Choose prepackaged soups whose containers have a wide base or, to avoid the possibility of a spill, pour the soup into a traditional bowl after heating.
  • Treat a burn right away. Cool the burn with cool water for 3-5 minutes.  Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help if needed.

A warm cup of soup is comforting during the winter months, but the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors would like to remind the public that the simple meal could turn painful.

The Phoenix Society is working with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to urge the public to be cautious when handling hot liquids and soups. According to the NFPA, scald burns are the second leading cause of all burn injuries, and children, older adults and people with disabilities are especially at risk.

Dr. David Greenhalgh, a Phoenix Society board member and Chief of Burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California and UC Davis Medical Center, authored the study, Instant Cup of Soup: Design Flaws Increase Risk of Burns, evaluating the dangers of prepackaged soups.

“Scalds are almost always preventable,” said Greenhalgh. “When they occur, a child may be scarred for life. Next time you are cooking or even holding a cup of coffee in your hand, think about the small ones below you.”

Because many burns are avoidable, the Phoenix Society is active in helping people prevent injuries.

“We see the devastating and sometimes lifelong consequences of scalds every day. It is important to remind the public to take precautions to avoid injury,” said Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society.

Donate to the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors
The only national organization helping burn survivors everywhere get back to living.

About the Phoenix Society
The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering anyone affected by a burn injury through peer support, education, and advocacy. Visit the Phoenix Society’s website at

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit the NFPA web site at

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