A burn on your child is every parent’s worse nightmare, so knowing how to manage a burn on a child is such an important lifeskill for all parents, caregivers, teachers and early years professionals.
Prevention is always the best approach to managing any issue and as such baby proofing your home or facility is extremely important, items such as our list below are essential to the prevention of not just burns but other risks to children, all these items can be inexpensive so shop around.
- Radiator Covers
- Fire Guards
- Cabinet & Oven Child Safety Locks
- Safety Gates
- Electrical outlet covers
- Edge protectors for coffee tables, fire places etc
- Appropriate factor suncream for children
What about Burns
Greatest number of pediatric burn patients are infants and toddlers younger than 3 years of age burned by scalding liquids. Our children grow so quickly as do their speed and ability to surprise us, as a healthcare professional I regularly attended young children burned by:
- Pulling a cup of tea or coffee on themselves
- Pulling pots of standing water from a table or stove
- Bath water too hot for the child
- Simply touching a hot radiator
- Accessing chemicals such as dishwasher tablets, washing tablet.
Types of Burns
Burns in children vary in their severity — and are classified as follows:
- First-degree burns (superficial) affect just the outer layer of skin. Your little one’s skin will be red and swollen skin and she’ll be in some pain. The most likely cause of this is sunburn
- Second-degree burns (Partial Thickness) involve the first and second layers of skin. Your child’s skin will be bright-red, swollen, blistery, and she’ll be in a lot of pain. the most likely cause of these are hot liquids like tea/coffee, boiling cooking water or bath water.
- Third-degree burns (Full Thickness) involve all layers of the skin and underlying tissue. Your child would have a wound that looks charred, black, white, leathery, or waxy. These are unlikely are most commonly associated with domestic fires and other very serious events.
Children are much more vulnerable to changes in the temperature of the environment because they produce and lose heat faster than adults. It is important for you to protect your child from the sun and from heat exposures that may cause them illness or injury. But accidents to happen so should your child suffer a first degree (superficial) or second degree (partial thickness) burn, quickly follow the steps below:
- Remove any clothes from the injured area, if clothing is stuck to the burn cut around it, cutting the clothing may be quicker and less painful for the child then attempting to remove them in the usual way.
- Apply burn gel to the affected area or a burn gel dressing (RECOMMENDED) or if burn gel not available run cool water over the wound for at least ten minutes or until your child seems to be in less pain. Gel dressings can be applied to the face and does not contain anything toxic or dangerous.
- Do NOT apply ice, butter, or powder to the injury since this could aggravate it. And do NOT break any blisters since this makes the wound more vulnerable to infection.
- If a blister or wound is present cover it loosely with a nonstick sterile bandage or gauze to protect the skin, Clingfilm can also be used for this purpose but do not wrap it, layer it on the burn area.
- Give your little one a pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (but don’t give ibuprofen to babies under six months).
- Call for help, should you require emergency care call 112.
- If you decide emergency care is not need, keep an eye out for signs of infection — redness, fever, swelling, or oozing. Depending on the burn, if any of these become evident seek medical attention.
What we recommend
For all parents, caregivers and early years staff we recommend our bespoke designed “child essential first aid kit”.
This kit is extremely small and compact measuring just 13 X 10 X 4cm making it ideal for nappy/diaper bags, car glove boxes, handbags and even the kitchen drawer. This kit contains everything you need to manage first aid emergencies with children. The kit includes:
- 1 x Burns Dressing 10cm x 10cm
- 1 x Conforming Bandage 7.5cm x 4m
- 1 x Child First Aid Shears
- 2 x Sterile Saline Solution 20ml
- 1 x First Aid Dressing size 1
- 4 x Disposable thermometer
- 1 x Strip of child fun plasters
- 6 X Alcohol Free sterile cleaning wipes