Child care: Burns and scalds

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The first aid care for burns and scalds among infants starts by assessing how bad the burn is. In case you are uncertain, it is vital to seek immediate medical care. You have to treat the burn by placing it under cool running water only.

First aid for burns and scalds

In case uncertain how severe a burn or scald is, get in touch with a doctor or bring the child to the nearest healthcare facility right away. Otherwise, the following first aid measures can be carried out.

  • Ensure that the area is safe and there is no risk for injury. If possible, bring the child to a safe place.
  • Remove any clothing right away, but only if it is not stuck to the skin. Any jewelry or watches the child is wearing should be removed, but only if it will not cause more pain or injury.
    Burns and scalds
    The burn should only be treated using water. Cool the burned area below running water for 20 minutes to minimize tissue damage and pain.
  • The burn should only be treated using water. Cool the burned area below running water for 20 minutes to minimize tissue damage and pain. This can be done for up to 3 hours after the burn. Try to hold the child to provide comfort.
  • After water treatment or while taking the child to a doctor, cover the burn using a light, loose, non-adhesive dressing such as a plastic wrap or wet cloth.
  • Elevate the affected limb.

When to call for emergency assistance

It is vital to call for emergency assistance if the burn is:

  • Located in the airway, face, hands or genitals
  • Bigger than the size of the child’s hand

When to consult a doctor

You have to bring the child to a doctor or nearest healthcare facility if:

  • The burn or scald is the length of a 20-cent or bigger
  • Burn appears raw or blisters developed
  • Burn is deep even if the child does not feel any pain
  • Pain is persistent or severe
  • Uncertain how severe the burn or scald is

When dealing with burns or scalds, do not attempt to peel off any clothing that is stuck to the burn or break open any blisters. Do not apply ice, oil, lotions, butter, powders or creams on the burn since these can worsen the damage. In addition, if the burn is large enough, you should not cool it longer than 20 minutes since hypothermia can rapidly develop among children.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on burns and scalds is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage burns and scalds with proper wound care, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are located in Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Surrey, Winnipeg, Kelowna, Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa.


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