Welcome to summer. Throughout the past month, there have already been record high temperatures across multiple states. We’ve written about summer safety before, but here’s a summer warning we haven’t covered: beware of drinking hot water from a garden hose!
Danger of Hot Water from a Garden Hose
That’s right, when it comes to water safety, danger can come from surprising places. A few years ago, there was a viral story on social media about a baby who accidentally received second degree burns. The culprit was hot water from a garden hose.
You can watch news coverage of the story here:
How Could This Happen?
While this was a terrible story, it is even more disturbing that this can and does happen often. As it turns out, a garden hose left outside in the hot sun can contain superheated water. If you or your guests are hanging out in the yard, use caution before turning the hose toward anyone. The tubing may feel empty, but it could actually contain water that has been boiling beneath the direct sunlight.
In this next section, let’s talk about some tips to avoid encountering hot water from a garden hose:
Drain the Hose
Above all, make sure your hose is truly empty after each use. Take extra care to drain any excess water throughout the tool. Before turning the hose on, give it one last check.
Avoid Storing the Hose Outside
If possible, try to bring your hose indoors or at least keep it in the shade. Direct sunlight can lead to a nasty surprise the next time you use the hose.
Reacting to a Burn
Beyond a sunburn, if you or someone else has been burned by hot water from a garden hose, immediately point the hose in another direction. Getting rid of the source of the heat is the first priority. Next, check the severity of the burn. After that, you should apply cool or slightly cold water to the affected area. Be sure not to use extreme cold, such as ice water. Believe it or not, this can actually make the problem worse.
For severe injuries, always seek medical attention. A medical professional will be far better equipped for this situation. Above all, act quickly. Delaying treatment could have dangerous consequences.
Can I Drink from the Hose?
While we’re talking about garden hose safety, let’s talk about drinking from one. Much like with the pool or ocean, our advice is “don’t drink the water!”
Much like the water we swim in, the cold or hot water from a garden hose is not designed for human consumption. A recent study from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, M.I., reported that garden hoses can be loaded with hazardous toxic materials.
Some of these materials can include:
- lead from the brass fixtures at the mouth of gardening hoses
- high levels of BPA, an industrial chemical used in plastics
The fact is, hoses are not considered a regular source of drinking water. As such, the Safe Drinking Water Act, does not regulate this water. Chemicals that may be present could cause lasting damage to children or adults who drink from a hose. The safest play is to simply not do so.