News headlines report on children getting burned by garden hose water, but the truth is, scalding hot water accidents can happen indoors, too.
When I saw the photo of a 9-month-old who got second-degree burns on his body after being sprayed by a garden hose that had been lying in the hot son, my mind immediately flashed to one time my son washed his hands at the kitchen sink. I'd just finished scrubbing a stack of pots and pans in scalding hot water, my hands protected by heavy-duty gloves. I'd shut off the faucet, but when he turned it back on and put his own little hands underneath, he jumped back with a scream, tears springing to his eyes. That little bit of hot water left in the pipes had burned him.
As parents, we want to think of everything—protecting our kids from any sort of harm, at home or out in the world. But the garden hose burn case is a reminder that surprises can happen, even when we're just filling a kiddie pool in the backyard on a hot summer day. I think it's an amazing public service that every year since that little boy got burned, the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue team tweets out a warning to run the water for a minute before letting kids or pets near it.
After the kitchen sink incident in our own house, I would gently push my son aside and turn on the water myself to check the temperature first. One time, the temperature control on the bathtub was turned all the way up—I realized I'd mistakenly done that myself, when wiping it down with cleaner earlier in the day. And yes, I noticed that in the summer, that first burst of water from the garden hose can be shockingly hot.
Now that he's 9, my husband and I have made it a reflexive habit to say "Give it a minute" every time our son turns on the faucet, whether in the kitchen, the bathtub, or in the backyard. When it comes to our kids, it's better to be safe than sorry.