Burns are some of the most serious and painful injuries that a person can suffer. Burns can also be very costly injuries to treat, especially if skin grafting is required. Unfortunately, children are the most vulnerable to burn injuries, many of which occur as a result of scalding.
According to Yahoo News, approximately 440,000 children in the United States seek medical treatment annually as a direct result of suffering burn injuries. The younger the child is, the greater the chance that a burn will occur.
One study conducted in the United Kingdom involved an assessment of 1,215 children who had sought treatment for burn injuries during a two year period of time. Among this group, approximately 700 of the kids were scalded and around 72 percent of the children who sustained the burn injuries were under 5 years old at the time of the incident. Though this particular study took place in Europe, burn injury trends are similar in the United States.
One top cause of scalding for both children and adults alike is beverages that are too hot. Some stores and restaurants serve tea and coffee at temperatures that creates a significant risk of burn injuries. Perhaps the most famous incident of this type involved McDonald’s serving coffee that was too hot, leading to a lawsuit that tort reform advocates often site as the classic example of frivolous litigation.
In the widely misunderstood McDonald’s “hot coffee” incident, the woman who had sustained the burns suffered damage to 16 percent of her body and needed costly medical treatment. The coffee that McDonald’s served was found to be much too hot, at 180 degrees. Coffee at this temperature can cause third degree burns to develop within only 15 seconds. There had been more than 700 complaints made to McDonald’s about the fact that its coffee was excessively hot before this incident occurred.
Another top cause of scalding injuries is soup that is served in Styrofoam containers. When children try to carry these containers to the table, the containers can become hot and kids may drop them and get burned. In these situations, burn injuries to the legs and trunk are common. If the soup has noodles in it, the noodles can become stuck to the skin and the burns are often much more serious. A study conducted in 2007 revealed that in burn incidents involving noodle soup, victims stayed in the hospital for a significantly longer period of time than for other types of burn injuries.
Scalding-hot bathroom faucet water is yet another major risk for kids. A responsible adult should always test the bathroom water temperature prior to allowing a child to put their hands under the faucet or submerge their body in bath water. Landlords also have a duty to ensure that they do not set thermostats on hot water tanks at a level that could cause scalding.
If you, your child or someone else you love has sustained a burn and you suspect that a business or another individual may be responsible, it is always wise to contact a lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of any applicable rights under the law.
The experienced Pennsylvania accident lawyers at Metzger Wickersham have offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pottsville, York, Lancaster, Shippensburg, and Harrisburg, PA. Contact us at 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 (946-9461) or visit www.mwke.com for a free case evaluation.