Published: Wednesday 16 October 2019

We've previously looked at situations in which scalds can be caused by hot drinks, a hazard pretty much all of us have at home. Hopefully you'll avoid these situations and no accidents will occur.

However, accidents do happen! If an accident resulting in a burn or scald does occur, the following treatment can be administered (this applies to all burns, not just hot drink scalds):

Cool the burn

  • Do this immediately using water (ideally running) for a minimum of 10 minutes. If water is not available for minor burns use any cold harmless liquid (e.g. milk) then move to a tap although. For babies use water only.
  • Take care not to induce hypothermia if the burn is large

Remove jewellery and loose clothing

  • Do this gently and carefully, before the area starts to swell. Do not remove anything that is stuck to the burn.
  • For burns involving chemicals, be careful not to contaminate yourself or other areas of the body.

Dress the burn

  • Dress the burn with a sterile dressing that won’t stick. Cling film is ideal - discard the first two turns of the film and don’t wrap it tight as the area may continue to swell. Secure with a bandage.
  • Alternative dressings include: a new (unused) plastic bag, low adherent dressings or specialised burns dressings (do not rely on burns dressings to cool a burn - use cold water!).
  • If the burn appears severe, or the child has breathed in smoke or fumes call 999/112 for emergency help. If the burn has blistered, broken skin or marked redness that is the size of the palm of the child's hand (for a baby this is around the size of a 10p) they should be seen by a medical professional immediately.

We cover burns/scalds and their treatment on our Baby and Child First Aid course (for parents, carers and other family), as well as our Paediatric First Aid course (for professionals). Join us and feel prepared in any emergency.


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