Having to apply first aid to your child is something that you never want to even consider, let alone deal with a serious burn. In most cases the children under five, who are admitted to hospital because of a burn, could have had their injury prevented.
As a parent you need to be aware of the dangers in and around your home. Burns and scalds are excruciating and can take months, even years to fully recover from, leaving horrific and permanent scarring.
Burns are typically caused by a dry heat, whereas scalds are typically a result of something wet and extremely hot, boiling water for example. Chemicals, Electrocution and over exposure to the sun can all cause burns, even extreme cold can burn.
Open fires, and heating
Always keep your child away from open fires and open barred radiators. Never, Ever, leave your child unattended near an open fire, heater, barbecue or hot stove. If you have to, always take your baby or toddler with you when you leave the room.
If you use a portable heater, instead of using an electric bar or oil heater, use a warm air converter or fan heater.
If you happen to have an open fire place, or slow combustion stove, a fixed fire guard is essential. A freestanding guard can be moved or knocked over by a toddler, fully exposing the danger.
Have your kids wear ski-style clothing and pajamas, not flimsy flowing garments if they are near the heater. Clothing can catch fire quickly, even when they are close to a hot fire without the flames actually touching them. Always try to buy clothing that is labelled flame resistant.
Never use flammable liquids on fires when your children are near or present and teach older children how to responsibly handle matches and or cigarette lighters. It is a good idea to have any lighters and matches put away out of reach or even safely hidden somewhere in the house that only the adults know about.
In the kitchen
When cooking, always point pot handles inward and away from the edge of the stove or hotplate. Never have the handle protruding out past the edge of the stove where young inquisitive hands can reach up and grab onto them, pulling the boiling hot contents over them, and wherever possible use the back burners of the stove.
Hot cups of tea or coffee can be easily spilt, so never leave a hot cup in easy reach on the coffee table. If you have to leave the room, put it up out of reach or pour it out. If you do happen to put it up out of reach, don’t put your hot cup or teapot on a table cloth where the child can pull on the cloth and have the cups hot contents pour out on top of them.
Table cloths are an accident waiting to happen when small kids are involved, avoid using them at all if possible.
Never have a hot cup in your hand while feeding or nursing your child.
If your child has to help in the kitchen while your cooking, get them to do something away from the boiling water and hot stove, let them play with some bubbly water in the sink, no matter how much they want to help, it is just not worth risking them getting burned.
Freezer burns can be just as painful, so as soon as your child is old enough to “Help” in the kitchen, explain to them they should always wrap frozen objects in a small towel before picking it up and carrying it.
Microwaves are another common source of burns. A good example of this is something commonly referred to as a “Hot Spoil Over”. This happen particularly when you take a bowl of hot fluid out of the oven, the cold fluid suddenly mixes with the hot, causing a sudden boil over. A good way to avoid this is to stir the liquid at intervals during the cooking process, so you have an even temperature throughout the liquid.
Cooking an egg in the microwave can also have it’s dangers, always break the shell before trying to cook it. Eggs have been known to explode when taken out of the microwave.
When sitting down for meals, keep the babies high chair well clear of any hot dishes that may have come directly from the oven.
Baths and hot water taps are another common cause of burns and scalds, third degree burns are common when the water temperature is set too high in your hot water system.
Scalding can happen quickly and without warning, for example, your child can receive a third degree burn in one second if the water temp is 140′f (60′c), compared to five minutes with a water temp of 122′f (50′c). At 122′f the water temp is still hot enough for you to perform most cleaning and laundering duties in the household.
To reduce the water temp to a safe temperature, get your plumber to install a tempering valve or thermostatic mixing valve to your hot water system.
Always run the cold water first when running a bath and turn the hot off before the cold. A tap guard is also worth getting, but is still no replacement for supervision and prevention.
Hot water bottles can be another danger, never fill them up to the point they will leak, only ever use a hot water bottle to pre-heat the child’s bed and remove it once the child has been put into the bed.
Never leave the iron plugged in, even if you are leaving the room for a minute, pull the plug out from the socket, roll up the cord and put it up out of reach.
Always unplug and put away hair dryers.
If you smoke, always extinguish your cigarette, never assume that it has gone out without properly stubbing it out.
Never leave matches or lighters within easy reach of your child.
In case of an emergency
In an emergency, it is important that you know how to apply some basic first aid to a burn, the following tips are not an all inclusive and detailed explanation of how to deal with a burn, but only some basic guidelines on what to do in the case of a severe emergency.
The most important thing in case your child suffers a burn is to stay calm, Don’t panic and reassure your child that everything will be ok. By you being stressed and panic stricken you will only cause your child to panic and worry even more than what they already are.
If your child has been severely burnt, covering at least ten percent of their body, expert medical attention is required immediately, this is a life threatening situation.
If the burn shows signs of blistering, your child has a deep and serious burn, they will need to have expert medical attention.
Avoid touching the burned area, breathing on and coughing on the affected area, this can increase the pain and discomfort of the burn to the child.
Try to run cold water over the burn as soon as possible, this will help relieve some of the pain and can also help reduce the severity of the burn, if possible try to immerse the burned area in water and leave submersed for an hour to an hour and a half.
The quicker you can cool down the affected area the more you will reduce the severity of the burn.