It may surprise you that one of the most common injuries presented by children to staff at A&E departments is burns and we’re not talking about bush fires.
Children account for one third of burns patients with burns attained from around their home environment being the most worst culprit. Every day household items such as irons and utilities such as hot water taps, if left unattended can be serious weapons when it comes to your child’s safety.
The severity of the burn is graded into degrees as below:
What are first degree burns?
Minor burns which only cause superficial damage and will appear red with minor inflammation. These burns will typically heal within a week.
First Aid management for first degree burns:
1. Soak the burned area of skin in cold water for at least five minutes and keep the patient still.
2. Apply first aid cream or aloe vera gel to help soothe the wound.
3. Apply a loose gauze with some antibiotic cream to help protect the wound.
What are second degree burns?
More severe burns which blister almost immediately due to their penetration past the first layer of skin.
First aid management for second degree burns:
1. Soak the burn for a minimum of 15 minutes under cold running water – even throw them in shower if you have to.
2. Gently apply first aid cream to burnt area ensuring hands are clean to minimise risk of infection
3. Bandage the wound ensuring to regularly change the dressing
What are third degree Burns?
This is the worst type of burn as it penetrates through every layer of skin and can potentially reach the bloodstream and other organs. The skin can appear either white and and waxy, charred, brown or leathery.
First aid management for third degree burns:
1. Call 000. These burns need to be treated by a medical professional due to the other possible implications.
2. Keep the patients calm and do not be surprised if they do not complain about pain.
3. It is important to closely monitor the patient until the paramedics arrive as there is a high risk of them going into shock.
What Not to Do when treating burns
When it comes to treating burns, especially with children, it is just as important to know what not to do such as:
Do not use cotton wool to treat or apply any ointment to the burn area. The tiny fibers can become loose and lodge into the skin causing infections.
Do not use ice directly on the burn. Using ice can actually cause even more damage. Running water only.
Do not use home remedies to treat the burn. Use only items found in your first aid kit.
Do not delay in seeking medical attention. It is better to be overcautious when it comes to treating burns especially when it comes to children as they may not be able to accurately describe their symptoms or even what happened in the first place.
First and foremost the best advice for treating burns is to prevent them in the first place by being over diligent with keeping your home and children safe from potential burn hazards such as hot irons, candles/burners and hot water. If an incident does happen get the wound under running water, have an up-to-date First Aid Kit in your home and be familiar with first aid treatment.