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Home water temperature safety education

Evidence Rating

Scientifically Supported

Health Factors

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 (). 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 (Rated)

  • 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 (, ).

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 ().

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 ().

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

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 - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

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.

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.

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.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Maricopa 2014 - Maricopa Health Foundation. Community outreach.

IPC-Home safety - Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas. Home safety: Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY).

Date Last Updated

May 30, 2014