Toddlers are naturally curious and as soon as they start walking you need eyes at the back of your head because they can get up to all sorts of things in a matter of seconds. Netcare 911 says children often get burned in the kitchen or bathroom – they either pull down pots or kettles filled with boiling hot water, touch the stovetop or play with fire, matches or candles.
It’s natural that you’ll feel really guilty if your little one burns, but remember that they’re very busy and curious, and sometimes it’s impossible to keep them from doing something dangerous.
Here’s what you can do if your little one burns with hot water, fire or another heat source at home:
- Move away from the heat source as soon as possible when a burn happens. If your clothes have caught fire, stop, drop to the ground and roll to try to smother the flames.
- If you or your child have been injured by hot liquid or steam, move away from the source as soon as possible.
- Remove any clothing that might be covering the burn as clothes can retain heat. But, don’t pull off clothing that has stuck to the skin as this may cause skin damage.
- Treat the burn immediately with cool, but not ice-cold, water. Depending on the location, size and severity of the injury, hold the affected area under cool running water until it becomes less painful. If larger areas of skin are affected, stand under a cool shower.
- Don’t place ice or frozen items like peas on the burn area.
- Don’t apply butter, egg white, toothpaste or any types of lotions to the affected areas. “These substances can be difficult to clean out later and can cause infection,” says Netcare 911.
- Apply sterile dressing to the wound. This will help to relieve the pain, reduce damage to the skin and prevent infection. Take care not to break the skin and don’t attempt to peel any blisters. Make sure the wound is not covered by any fluffy, sticky or adhesive materials as this could further damage the area, and could potentially lead to infection.
When should I take my child to the doctor?
If the burn injury is severe, causes significant pain and/or is larger than the palm of your hand, go to your nearest clinic or emergency room or call an emergency medical services provider such as Netcare 911 on 082 911 for assistance. If the burn becomes infected, and your child hasn’t had a recent tetanus vaccination, or blisters occur, you should take your toddler to your nearest clinic or make an appointment with your doctor.
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