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Face Burns from Microwaving Water, a Common Injury

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A man placed a cup of water in the microwave to heat it up. After he took the cup out of the microwave, the water in the cup burst onto his face giving him first- and second-degree burns to his entire face and neck.

Many people would probably categorize this incident as a freak accident. Well, while the man was at the hospital, the attending physician told him that face burn injuries from microwaving water was fairly common. It turns out that placing a cup of water in the microwave is dangerous.

It is recommended that something should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy like a wooden stir stick or a tea bag, according to post-gazette.com.

"What happens is that the water heats faster than vapor bubbles can form,” said a major appliance manufacturer. “As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil and it continues to heat up well past its boiling point.”

Our firm is familiar with injuries due to sudden product explosions. We represented a client who suffered a serious hand injury replacing the glass carafe in a coffee maker. The glass carafe shattered in his left hand causing a deep wound between the thumb and first finger. We eventually reached an acceptable settlement for a client so his medical bills and lost wages would be properly compensated.

Can the man who suffered burns due to the absurdly hot water file a personal injury claim? There are too many extenuating circumstances to answer definitively yes or no. Nevertheless, here are some general safety tips to avoid becoming a hot water face burn victim:

• Do not heat water in the microwave for more than two minutes per cup.

• After heating the water, let the cup stand in the microwave for 30-45 seconds before attempting to remove the cup.

• Tap the outside of the container a few times with a solid object instead of looking inside the cup to see if the water is boiling.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.

PA