A burn for a child can be very distressing and painful, but correct treatment given quickly can go a long way in ensuring it heals properly. Firstly, ensure your and the child’s safety, make sure whatever caused the burn is no longer a risk. Flood the burnt area with cool running water for at least ten minutes. Our bodies can hold on to heat for much longer than we might think and damage can still develop for quite a while after the burn has happened. Take off anything that may restrict the circulation should the burn swell, but do not remove anything that has become stuck to the burn’s surface. If the child can not stand the cool running water for that long, fill a bowl or jug with cold water and immerse the burnt area in it. You will need to change the water frequently in this case as their body will quickly heat the water and it will soon become unhelpful in the cooling process. After ten minutes check on the burn. If it is still feeling sore and hot, re-cool for a further ten minutes. Once it has fully cooled, the area can be dressed with a clean, dry, non-fluffy dressing (preferably a burns dressing) or covered (not wrapped) with a strip of clean cling film. Please do not apply creams to a burn and certainly not butter, as in my grandmother’s day, or honey, or toothpaste, or any other interesting things that come up as suggestions on some first aid courses! Burns that are large, deep, surround a limb, involve the face, neck, chest, palms of hands, soles of feet, genitals or are caused by electricity or chemicals must be treated at hospital. It is also important to remember that the old and the young are more susceptible to complications from burns and should also be checked out by a medical professional.
More information on burns is discussed on our paediatric first aid courses, so find a date that suits you!