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Burns and scalds first aid

Burns and scalds: what to do

A burn is an injury to the skin that happens from touching something hot. Scalds are burns from hot liquids or steam.

If your child gets a burn or scald, first make sure the area is safe and there’s no risk of further injury to your child or yourself. Take your child to a safe place if possible.

Remove any clothing, watches or jewellery around the burn immediately, if they aren’t stuck to the burn. Leave any blisters alone.


Scalds and burns first aid

Hold the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes. You can cool the burn for a few minutes at a time over the next 3 hours. But don’t delay getting medical help for severe burns.

Cool the burn, not the child. Stop cooling the burn after 20 minutes. Keep your child warm because hypothermia can happen quickly in children.

After cooling the burn, cover it with a loose, light, non-sticky dressing like plastic wrap or a clear plastic bag. Raise burned limbs to reduce swelling and pain.


Medical attention for burns and scalds

Call an ambulance on 1 1 1 if the burn is to your child’s face, airway, hands or genitals, or is larger than the size of your child’s forearm.

Go to your GP or a hospital if the burn is the size of a 20-cent piece or larger, or if it’s deep, raw, angry or blistered. Also do this if the pain persists or is severe, or you’re not sure how bad the burn is.

Don’t apply ice, iced water, lotions, moisturisers, oil, ointments, butter or flour, creams or powders to the burn. This will make the damage worse.

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