Burns & Scalds

“Burns and Scalds are the third most common injury for babies and toddlers” The Australian Institute of Health and Wealthfare 2009.


Safety Prevention and First Aid for Families

Burns and Scalds are one of the most common accidents that can happen in your household and cause serious injury to your child. A burn is where the skin has been damaged by something hot which includes hot water, steam, the heater, over and also from electricity, friction, chemicals and radiation (sunlight)! The most common burn for children is scalds which is caused by hot liquids.

Things you can do to prevent burns and scalds

Hot water in domestic homes are usually set at 70°. The ideal temperature should be set at 50 °. Hot water burns like fire, and even small adjustments to its temperature can be the difference between a minor or sever burn.

At 60° it takes one sec for hot water to cause a life threatening scald to an infant. At 55° it takes ten seconds and 50° it takes five minutes.

Hot surfaces around the home

“I had left my room to do something in the kitchen and for a period of time I could not hear my little one around the house. When I found her she was in the bathroom and had put the hair straightener on her arm. It was on and she had not removed it so it was just burning through her skin” – Family First Aid Parent Story

Electrical burns

“I found my child sucking on the USB cord for my phone charger which resulted in some burns in his mouth, and a few days of discomfort when drinking milk and eating food” – Family First Aid Parent Story

Chemical burns are caused by corrosive and causative agents around the home such as cleaning products, chlorine and acids.

“I was at park one day, and my young child decided to go down one of those tube slides. As she came down the slide there was a mist of dust that flew out the other end. She was screaming and the closer I walked towards here the stronger the smell of chemicals appeared. It turned out that chlorine powder was poured down the slide. My daughter had chemicals burns over her body and her genitals”.- Founder of WONDERWOMAN Children

Be sure to call poison information hotline on 13-11-26 to find out more advice.

Radiation burns are most commonly caused by the sun. There is a strong message about being sun safe in Australia and we can reinforce this by ensuring that you as a family are aware of how to keep safe in the sun, by using sunscreen and staying out of the sun during the hotter periods of the day.


First Aid Management for All Burns and Scalds

If the child has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or non-responsive commence Airway Management.

  1. Cool the burn for 20 minutes. under cool running water. This treatment is useful for up to three hours after the incident.
  2. Cool the burn not the child. If the burn is large, stop cooling after 20 minutes (no less, unless recommended otherwise). Children are more prone to hypothermia.
  3. Cover the burn. With a sterile, non-stick dressing ( if not available use cling wrap/cotton sheet).
  4. Call an ambulance 000. If the burn is to the child’s face, airway, hands, joints of genitals or if the burn is larger than the size of the child’s hand.
  5. Go to the hospital or doctor. If the burn is larger than a 20 cent piece, looks raw or the child is in pain.


DO NOT Apply ice, iced water, butter, creams, oil or powders!

DO NOT Use a hydrogel for the first aid treatment of burns!

DO NOT Cover chemical burns with cling wrap or hydrogel dressings.

Want to learn more?

LEARN the skills of Airway Management and what to do in an Emergency by joining in on our Family First Aid classes or hosting one of your own with your family and friends! Visit www.wonderwomanchildren.com.

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