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June is National Burns Awareness Month, so the focus is on keeping our children safe by preventing burns and if there is a burn the first aid treatment.
Ways to prevent burns and scalds
Burn injuries often occur in the home, most often in kitchens and bathrooms, but other high-risk places include fireplaces and camping sites.
By taking a few minutes to make your home and environment as safe as possible, you could prevent a life-changing injury.
In the kitchen
Always supervise your child in the kitchen, and if possible, encourage/teach them to stay out of the kitchen while you are cooking or preparing meals.
If you have a toddler, consider installing a child safety gate to keep them out while you are cooking.
- Keep your child away from hot foods and liquids (e.g., tea, coffee, soups, noodles). Keep hot drinks and foods out of reach.
- Store the kettle and cord away from the edge of the bench and turn pot handles in so that children cannot reach them.
In the bathroom
- The temperature of hot water delivered to basins, baths, and showers should not exceed 50°C (a licensed plumber can set the temperature correctly).
- Always test the water before letting your child get in the shower or bath.
- Fill the bath with cold water first, then add the hot water.
Around the home and outdoors
Install fixed fire screens or heater guards around open or glass-fronted fires and heaters.
- Keep lighters, matches and open flames (e.g., candles, decorative alcohol-fuelled devices, ethanol burners) out of reach.
- Check your smoke alarm is in working order. Test batteries every month and replace them every year at the end of daylight savings.
- Always supervise children when camping. Keep your child away from campfires and coals and make sure they always wear shoes outside. Campfire coals can often still be hot from the day before – always use water (not sand) to extinguish them.
- Treadmill – keep children away from treadmills while in use, remove the key and unplug from the wall when not in use.
Key points to remember
- Always supervise children in the kitchen and keep hot food and drinks out of reach.
- Limit the temperature of hot water that reaches your bath and shower to 50°C.
- Use cool running water to treat a burn as soon as possible and seek medical attention.
First Aid for burns
Treatment is the same for all burn injuries.
As soon as possible, hold the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes only. This is useful for up to three hours after the burn. Remove clothing or jewellery that is not stuck to the burn, being gentle not to further damage the skin. Sometimes you will need to cut clothing to remove it. It is important to try to keep your child as warm as possible and just target the burn with the cool water.
If the burn is minor and has not caused the skin to blister or break, and your child seems settled, there is no need to see a doctor. For all other burns, seek medical assistance.
You should seek medical help immediately if:
- the burn is deep, even if your child does not feel any pain
- the burn is larger than 3 cm or has blisters
- the burn is on the face, hands or genitals
- the burn is to the throat or airway
- you are concerned or unsure about the injury.
Cover the burn with a loose, non-stick dressing or plastic cling film until your child is seen by a doctor. However, do not keep plastic cling film on for more than an hour. The doctor may apply a new dressing, which will keep the burn clean and help to reduce pain.
Do not use ice to cool the burn as this may make the burn worse. Never apply any butter, creams or oil. Cool running water is best.
Call an ambulance on 000 immediately if your child has a severe burn injury.
National Burns Awareness Month is an initiative of Kidsafe,
Australia’s leading community organisation dedicated to child injury prevention.
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The information provided by Parentmedic North Qld is for general informational and educational purposes only. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance of any information is solely at your own risk.