CHILDREN are more susceptible to burns than you might think as their skin is far more sensitive than that of adults.
Something like a hot cup of coffee or tea is enough to scald the skin and leave it sore.
Faced with a situation like this, many parents may not really know how to provide first aid for burns – or make crucial mistakes.
Nikki Jurcutz, from child and baby first aid site Tiny Hearts Education, said: “Improper first aid could lead to more scarring, slower healing and more tissue damage.”
The former paramedic said up to 29 per cent of children with burns do not receive proper first aid – Nikki lives in Australia.
She said proper care of your little one’s burns can:
- Significantly reduce tissue damage
- Accelerates the wound healing process
- Reduces the likelihood of lifelong scarring
Here are five first aid mistakes you may be making that could result in physical scarring for your child.
1. Don’t be careful when taking off clothes
“The first thing you need to do is remove clothing and accessories from around the injured area,” Nikki said. This also includes diapers.
However, you need to be very careful with this step as you could cause more harm to your child
The British Red Cross stressed that people should not try to remove anything stuck to the burn as this could cause further tissue damage.
“Clothing that is near the burn but is not stuck to it can be removed,” it said.
3. Do not run the fire under cold water long enough
TheWhat you need to do is run your little one’s burn under cold water.
But many parents may forget this crucial step or not do it long enough.
Nikki said to hold the wound under running water for at least 20 minutes.
Former paramedic and founder of first aid education platform Safer Little Steps, Ross Smith, said: “If you don’t put cold water on the burn, it will get deeper and the burn will get worse.”
You need to hold your child’s burn under water until it feels cool, he added in a clip posted to TikTok.
If it’s a widespread burn, you might put your little one in the shower and run cool water over him while you try to keep him calm until doctors arrive, the former paramedic continued.
But the British Red Cross noted: “Avoid exposing the entire body to a cold shower or bath as this could lead to hypothermia.”
3. Apply the bandage incorrectly
For smaller burns, once the burn appears slightly less painful and cool to the touch, you should place a non-stick bandage from a first aid kit or a piece of plastic wrap over it.
But Ross warned you not to wrap the tapearound the burn – all you have to do is put the cling film over it.
“This helps reduce the risk of infection,” Ross said.
But you also need to cover any areas that aren’t burned and make sure your little one stays warm, Nikki from Tinysaid.
5. Apply butter, cream or toothpaste to the burn
The Red Cross emphasized that under no circumstances should you apply butter, cream or toothpaste to the burn as this will not cool the area.
“Butter and cream contain oils,” it said. “Oils retain heat, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve. Toothpaste often contains menthol, which may provide a superficial cooling sensation but is not effective in treating burns.”
“If you place something on a burn and it later has to be removed in hospital, this can cause further pain and damage,” it continued.
You should also avoid putting ice on your little one’s burn as this could damage the skin.
Instead, use cold water to cool the burn, it said.
“If you don’t have access to cold running water, pour other cold liquids such as milk, soft drinks or beer over the burn to cool it down.”
4. No doctor’s visit
Any burn needs to be examined by a doctor because infection could likely occur, Ross emphasized.
Nikki shared a series of images to illustrate the difference proper first aid makes for burns.
The first picture showed a little boy with an angry red burn on his side and chest.
A picture from just two weeks later showed skin that was a much lighter shadewith a few scabby spots.
According to the last picture, the child’s burn had completely healed eight weeks later – only a slightly lighter patch of skin remained where the burn had been just two months earlier.
“Don’t misunderstand burn first aid,” Nikki wrote. “Your child is counting on you to do it right.”
She wrote down the exact orderYou have to go through if your little one gets scalded or burned.
FIRST AID FOR CHILDREN BURN
- Remove all clothing and accessories from the injured area, but be careful not to cause further tissue damage – this includes diapers
- Apply cool, running water for at least 20 minutes – this should be between 2 and 15 degrees
- Cover the burned area with a loose, non-adhesive bandage. You can use plastic wrap to cover the burn, but don’t wrap it around the limb
- Cover the unburned areas and keep your child warm
- If possible, elevate the burn to minimize swelling