(7/24/12) - Although there are many safety measures for preventing burns in children, accidents will happen. If a burn does occur, it is important to identify the degree of the burn and treat it accordingly.
To treat a minor (first-degree and small second-degree) burn, remove any clothes from the injured area. For at least five minutes, run cool water over the wound or apply a cool wet cloth. Do not apply ice to the injury or break any blisters since this makes the wound more vulnerable to infection. Gently pat the skin dry and cover it loosely with a nonstick sterile bandage or gauze to protect the skin. Give the child a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and then call the doctor. Your pediatrician may recommend a prescription, but this usually is not necessary for minor burns. However, you need to watch closely for any signs of infection, such as redness, fever, swelling, or oozing.
To treat large second-degree and any size third-degree burns, remove clothing only if the clothing does not stick to the wound. Lay the child flat, and raise burned body parts above the child's chest level. Apply a cool washcloth for ten to twenty minutes. Do not immerse large areas of the child's body in cold water, as this may cause shock. Gently pat the injured area dry, and cover the burn with a sterile cloth or bandage. Keep the child as warm and comfortable as possible to prevent shock.
When a burn injury occurs, it is important to call the doctor as soon as you have treated the injury. Call 911 if the following conditions apply:
• You think your child has a serious or large second- or third-degree burn.
• The burn comes from a fire or is an electrical or chemical burn.
• Your child is having trouble breathing or is not responding.
For more information about burn safety, call Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal at (843) 777-5021 to speak to an Injury Prevention Specialist or visit www.McLeodSafeKids.org.
Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal, led by McLeod Health, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading cause of death in children 14 and under. Safe Kids Pee Dee/ Coastal is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by the McLeod Health Foundation.