Hot Drinks and Kettles

The staff room can be the least likely place for children to sustain burns due to hot liquids and steam.  It can occur in classrooms and during yard duty.

For thirty minutes after water has boiled, the water can still cause significant burns.

Forty-four percent of all serious scalds to children are caused by the spilling of hot drinks. The two most common scenarios are a child pulling down a cup of coffee, tea or hot water from its resting place or a child running in to someone that is holding a hot drink.

Suggested strategies for reducing the risk

Although it may be convenient due to distance from the staffroom, it is recommenced that kettles are removed from classrooms.  If this is not possible, students should be appropriately supervised around kettles and hot drinks, or receptacles holding hot liquids be placed out of students’ reach and on a stable surface.
Kettles or jugs should only be filled with enough water for the immediate task.

It is recommended that employees avoid transporting hot liquids (including drinks) when a large number of students are moving around the school.

Principals and school leaders should ensure that staff are aware of the correct first aid procedures if a student, employee or visitor to the school is injured due to a hot liquid or steam burn. 

Principals and school leaders should also ensure all kettles have been appropriately tested and tagged for electrical safety.

Better Health Victoria Burns and Scalds - Children (State Government of Victoria)


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