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Learn how to administer first aid for burns in children

Elvis Elvis

Can you remember the time before you had little ones? You would leave the curling iron or the iron and the ironing board out. It was not a big deal. You could put it back later. However, now that you have little ones, you have to “always be one your toes!”

When my husband was little, he pulled a cup of hot coffee on himself. My mother-in-law put it on the table so it could cool down while she ate her breakfast. To this day my mother-in-law feels SOOO guilty about this. This happened about 34 years ago.

Learn how to administer first aid for burns in children

Burns are very common BUT can also be preventable. Some common causes of burns are:

  • Hot liquid or steam. It is the most common type of burn amoung young children. Hot bath water and a hot cup of coffee are the number one culprits of burns.
  • Contact with a hot object. A hot stove, curling iron, or fireplace should be off limits to children.
  • Chemicals. Swallowing things like bleach and small batteries can also cause burns not only externally, but internally as well.
  • Electrical outlets. These can be very tempting to a curious little one.




    Now that we covered the causes, let’s look at some ways to prevent burn injuries.

  • Set the thermostat of your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees. Not sure how hot your water is? You can put a cooking thermometer into the hottest glass of water that you got from one of your faucets.
  • Never carry hot liquid and/or food near your little one. You may have never spilled a cup of coffee before, but the very time you decide to carry your little one while you are carrying something hot, that may be the first time you spill it. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Put a safety lock on your stove. Safety stove locks prevent little ones from turning the burners or oven on. You can also remove the knobs off of the stove. However, stove locks may look better.
  • Always use the back burners on a stove when cooking. Also, don’t forget to turn the pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Use electrical outlet covers. Little ones love sticking objects into holes.
  • Make sure your smoke detector is working. They should be on every floor of your home. Place them up high and near the kitchen and bedrooms. Make sure to check your smoke detector monthly to make sure they are working properly. And if you need one, you may be able to get one for free at your local fire department.
  • Set up a fire escape plan. Get your little ones involved. Talk to them about what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Never leave matches, lighters, or flammable objects in the reach of children.
  • Do not use portable heaters around children. A little one will want to touch it or stick something in it.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier instead of a hot steam one.
  • Teach your little one about the word “HOT”. You can do this by letting your little one touch the outside of a WARM coffee cup.
  • Never leave a little one alone in the kitchen and bathroom. These are the most common places that burns might occur.




    There are different types of burns. There are first, second, and third degree burns. Here is how to tell the difference and the best way to administer first aid for burns.

    First Aid for Burns
    First degree burns.
    These burns are red and have no blistering or damage on the skin. If the area is small, then the best way to treat first degree burns is to put the irritated area in cool (not cold) water. Do not put ice on it. This may delay the healing time of the burn. Also, never put butter, grease, powder, or any other remedies on the burn. This may cause infection. So plain ol’ cool water will do.

    My mother’s first aid for burns was to use a little was aloe vera. 100% aloe vera works wonders on burns and sunburns. I have an aloe vera plant at home so I will always be prepared to administer first aid for burns, sunburns, or cuts and scrapes.

    HOWEVER…
    if the first degree burn is over a large area (more than 3 inches), face, eyes, mouth or genitals, it is best to take your little one to their pediatrician.

    Second degree burns.
    These are a little bit trickier. These burns are red AND have blisters on the skin. It is recommended to take your little one to their pediatrician. But before you go, run cool water on the burn to help decrease the skin’s temperature and ease the pain. While on your way to the doctor, make sure the burn is covered with a dry clean towel or gauze. Make sure your child (or you) don’t pick at the burn or pop the blister(s). This may lead to infection. If the pediatrician is not in their office, then I would recommend going to an after-hours emergency center.

    Third degree burns.
    Yikes! This one you will definitely be able to tell. The skin will be deformed and discolored. In this case, no first aid for burns. Instead, call 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room. DO NOT TREAT THIRD DEGREE BURNS AT HOME!

    Burns caused by chemicals.
    You should call your local poison control center BEFORE treating these burns. Not sure what your local poison control center telephone number is? Call 800-222-1222. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    If you are not sure what to do, it is best to call your little one’s pediatrician, because it is always better to be safe than sorry.