Feb 08, 2013 10:00 AM

Author: Annette Matherly

Staff in the University of Utah's Burn Center have seen countless injuries that could have been prevented. During burn awareness week, Annette Matherly, RN, at the U’s Burn Center, shares her story of a patient whose visit could have been avoided.  

I remember getting the burn call: a 1-year-old had been scalded in the bathtub. When I first met my new patient, he was hiding under a bright blanket, covering his freshly washed burns. 

After months of hope and treatment, our perfect chubby-cheeked little boy passed away. I remember the tears shed by family as we said our goodbyes. I remember his name, his innocence, and I remember the pain and sadness of a tragedy that is seen too often at the burn center.

The memory is still fresh 15 years later.  

“Hot water can burn like fire.” That phrase ran through my mind. Words most people don’t think about- but, unfortunately, it’s a burn injury we see too often. 

 During burn awareness week, please help us spread our message:

  • Lower the thermostat setting of the water heater to 120 degrees F, or just below the medium setting.
  • Always check the temperature of the water prior to placing your child in the bathtub.
  • Never leave children unattended in the bathtub for any reason.
  • Teach children that hot water can burn like fire whether it is in a bathtub, on the stovetop, or in a cup.

Keep your loved ones safe.


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