“An 18-month-old child in the bath of a rental property grabbed the hot water tap and turned it on before her mother had a chance to react,” Dr Barker said.
“The girl sustained deep burns to her chest. At 60 degrees Celsius it takes just one to five seconds for a scald to cause full thickness burns.”
Dr Barker said at 55 degrees it makes more than 10 seconds to sustain a full thickness burn, yet at 50 degrees it takes a full five minutes to sustain a similar burn.
For this reason, Queensland law requires new and renovated buildings to have water outlets used for personal hygiene, such as bathroom taps and showers, regulated to 50 degrees.
New instant hot water systems are factory pre-set to 50 degrees.
Existing instant hot water units can be turned down to 50 degrees, saving money and, potentially, lives.
Storage hot water systems are required to operate at 60 degrees Celsius due to the risk of Legionnaire’s disease, however property Owners can install tempering devices to reduce the post-storage hot water temperature.
Source : RTA Newsletter (December 2011/January 2012)