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November 12, 2004
"How hot is your tap water?" campaign launched today
  
Toronto Public Health is launching its "How hot is your tap water?" health
communication campaign to raise parents' awareness about preventing tap water
scalds.

"Hot tap water is a more common cause of serious burns to children than fire,"
said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "Most hot tap
water scalds can be prevented with simple one-time only changes to residential
hot water supply systems."

According to Statistics Canada (2001), children living in Toronto have a higher
average annual rate of hospitalization from scald burns than children of the
same age in the rest of Ontario.

Hot water heaters in Canada are currently set at 60ºC or 140ºF. At these
temperatures a child can be severely burned in just seconds. This campaign
complements a recent Ontario Building Code change that states hot water
supplied to fixtures in residential occupancies should not exceed 49ºC.

The "How hot is your tap water?" campaign asks Toronto parents to test the
temperature hot water coming out of their faucet. If the tap water is hotter
than 49°C (120°F) Toronto Public Health suggests several options: use
temperature controls, tap guards, safety tips for bathing children, and in some
instances lower the temperature of the hot water heater to 49°C or a medium
("M") setting.

Children with severe burn injuries require prolonged hospitalization (21-35
days) for pain control, fluid balance, and multiple surgeries. In addition,
frequent skin grafts are required to allow the skin to be released as a child
grows. The direct health care costs of scald burn injuries is over $5 million
annually.

The "How hot is your tap water?" campaign is part of the Early Child
Development Injury Prevention project undertaken by Toronto Public Health and
is 100% funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Media Contact:
Frank Giorno, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974



 

 

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