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First Aid for Your Child: Burns



First Aid for Your Child: Burns




Symptoms of 1st degree burns


•Red skin


•Swelling and pain


Symptoms of 2nd degree burns


•First layer of skin burned through and second layer burned




•Redness and swelling


•Increased pain


What to Do


For Minor Burns – 1st degree burns and small 2nd degree burns (5 – 7.5cm in diameter)


•Remove any jewelry, watches or shoes  from the burnt area before it swells


•Cool the burnt area by putting it under  cold running water for at least 5 minutes, or by using cold compresses to reduce swelling. Don’t put ice on the burn as this can cause frostbite,further damaging the burnt person’s skin


•Wrap the affected area with a clean nonadhesive sterile bandage. Never cover the burnt area with anything fluffy or that has loose fibers


•Consult a doctor


For Major Burns – Large 2nd degree burns (over 7.5cm in diameter)


•Move your child away from the smoke  and heat


•Don’t remove any clothing that is stuck  to the burnt area


•Remove any jewelry, watches or shoes from the affected area if possible before it swells


•If possible, put the burnt area under cold  running water for 15 minutes to prevent the formation of blisters. This may also minimize shock. Don’t put ice on the burn


•Protect area with a cool, moist, non- adhesive sterile bandage or cloth


•If it’s the hand or foot that is burnt, cover  it with a clean plastic bag


•Take your child to a hospital immediately for fluid replacement therapy and sterilization




•If the injured person is a baby, don’t immerse him in cold water for too long as this can cause hypothermia


•Don’t break blisters or remove any loose  skin


•Never apply lotions


•Don’t allow your child to eat or drink  because he may need to take an anesthetic


•In the case of 3rd degree burns (where  all the layers of the skin have been burnt, fat and muscle tone may be affected and burnt areas may be charred black or appear dry and white), never remove burnt clothing and never immerse burns in water. Always seek hospital care immediately. If there are no signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement), begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you are certified to do so, until help arrives or you reach the hospital.


Read also in the First Aid for Your Child series: Allergic Reactions, Bleeding, Electric Shock, Tooth Loss, Motion Sickness, Heat Exhaustion, Fever, Eye Injury and Choking.

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