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Home water temperature safety education

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Healthcare Professionals & Advocates Nonprofit Leaders Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 1-9% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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Education about safe water temperature can be provided at prenatal or well-baby visits at a medical clinic or as part of well-baby home visits. Such efforts may include provision of water temperature home safety equipment at the visit or during home follow-up visits (Cochrane-Kendrick 2012). Home water safety equipment ranges from hot water gauges or thermometers to measure temperature at the time of use to plumber-installed thermostatic mixing valves that adjust water temperatures within the pipes. Burns from tap water affect young children and elderly adults most (Shields 2013).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Improved home water temperature safety

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that education regarding safe water temperature improves home water temperature safety practices, especially when paired with provision of home water safety equipment. Additional evidence is needed to determine the effect of such interventions on rates of scalding from hot tap water (Cochrane-Kendrick 2012, Kendrick 2009).

Home safety education interventions increase the proportion of households with safe hot tap water temperatures, especially when paired with safety equipment. Educational efforts alone and education paired with safety equipment have been shown to be effective for children of various ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. Such efforts have demonstrated effects for children in single parent and two-parent households, children living in rental units, and children in family-owned homes. Families who receive home safety education and safety equipment maintain safe water temperatures over four months after receipt of information and equipment. Effects appear larger when interventions are delivered in homes than clinics (Kendrick 2009Cochrane-Kendrick 2012).

An England-based cost analysis suggests that a large scale education and installation program of thermostatic mixing valves in government-owned apartments would cost approximately $24 US dollars per unit, in 2014 dollars (Phillips 2011).


United States

Dallas, TX and Maricopa County, AZ are examples of communities with burn prevention programming. In Dallas, TX, the Injury Prevention Center (IPC) partnered with the Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program to implement a fire and scald burn prevention project for participating families (IPC-Home safety). From 2009 to 2011, home educators provided literature and verbal educational messages to families and measured hot water temperature. The Maricopa Health Foundation in Maricopa County, Arizona provides scald prevention books and flashcards to students as part their community outreach programs (Maricopa 2014).

Citations - Description

Cochrane-Kendrick 2012* - Kendrick D, Young B, Mason-Jones AJ, et al. Home safety education and provision of safety equipment for injury prevention. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. 2012;(9):CD005014. Accessed on December 15, 2015
Shields 2013 - Shields WC, Mcdonald E, Frattaroli S, et al. Still too hot: Examination of water temperature and water heater characteristics 24 years after manufacturers adopt voluntary temperature setting. Journal of Burn Care & Research. 2013;34(2):281–7. Accessed on February 5, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Cochrane-Kendrick 2012* - Kendrick D, Young B, Mason-Jones AJ, et al. Home safety education and provision of safety equipment for injury prevention. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. 2012;(9):CD005014. Accessed on December 15, 2015
Kendrick 2009* - Kendrick D, Smith S, Sutton A, et al. The effect of education and home safety equipment on childhood thermal injury prevention: Meta-analysis and meta-regression. Injury Prevention. 2009;15(3):197–204. Accessed on December 28, 2015
Phillips 2011* - Phillips CJ, Humphreys I, Kendrick D, et al. Preventing bath water scalds: A cost-effectiveness analysis of introducing bath thermostatic mixer valves in social housing.Injury Prevention. 2011;17(4):238-43. Accessed on January 12, 2016

Citations - Implementation

IPC-Home safety - Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas. Home safety: Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). Accessed on December 16, 2015
Maricopa 2014 - Maricopa Health Foundation. Community outreach. Accessed on January 11, 2016

Page Last Updated

May 30, 2014

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