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Common Questions about Burns

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health , Tags: burns, chemicals, first aid, scalds, shock

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When it comes to First Aid, most parent's reaction is to think that the accident won't happen to them.  We are careful not to leave an iron on an ironing board, and we would never allow a child close to anything too hot.  But the stark fact remains that accidents do happen, no matter how careful you think you are or how safe you believe your house is.  Hot coffee may be on the table, water from the hot tap gets very hot, chemicals are in the cupboard.  And children are naturally inquisitive.

Here are a few pointers when it comes to burns.

Hot Water Burns and scalds

If your child suffers from a hot water burn, perhaps from a cup of tea or the hot water tap, the first thing to do is to carefully remove any clothing that can be removed easily.  Clothing retains heat, so this is why it is best to remove them.  If they are already stuck to the skin, or are tight fitting, then leave them  as you could damage the skin underneath.  Put the burned area under cool (but not cold) running water for at least 20 or 30 minutes. If the burn is still burning after this time continue the water treatment.  DO NOT under any circumstances put anything on the burn - no ointments, cream or flour (an old wives tale!).

Give some pain relief such as Calpol because burns do hurt.  Once the burning stops do not allow the child to get cold.  Cover the burn with cling  film as this doesn't stick to the skin, and put fresh clothes back on. Be careful of ice packs as these can burn the skin too.  Go to A&E for further help.

Electric Shock

Firstly, make sure it is safe to approach and that the current is no longer live.  Do not put yourself in danger.  There may only be a small entry wound, but go to hospital directly.

Chemical burns

It it vital to wash away any chemicals by washing with cool water.  Ensure you are protected too if you are helping.  Once washed, cover with clean dry dressing - a clean (boil washed) tea towel is a good option.

Take care and always seek medical advice if need any assistance.

Preventing Burns in Young Children

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Babies, Health , Tags: baths, burns, chemicals, electricity, flame, scalds, sunburn

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Young children and babies have much more sensitive skin than adults and will burn much more easily - to prevent accident by burning, avoid exposure to sources of burn injuries.  Most burn injuries are preventable and yet every year thousands of children are taken to hospital with burn injuries.  Here are some of the common causes, and what you can do to prevent such injuries:-

  • Scalds: caused by hot liquids touching the skin, common cause of scalding include:-
    • hot baths are the easiest mistake to make, babies and young children need a bath much cooler than we would have; children's baths should be tepid rather than warm, and never hot
    • hot drink spillages such as tea or coffee: keep hot drinks away from children at all times, don't place them on the floor and don't rest them close to the edge on higher surfaces
    • kettle and saucepan accidents are too common - ensure your kitchen is safe, boil pans on the back stoves, make sure frying pans aren't spitting boiling oil and fat and make sure that the flex from your kettle and any electrical cookers are out of reach
    • steam is hotter than 100°C and rises around cooking, kettles and hot drinks - make sure you keep anything steaming well away from children
  • Sunburn: the most common burns are caused by exposure to the sun; make sure that babies and young children are well covered in the sun, apply plenty of sun cream and re-apply throughout the day, provide shade for babies with parasols or tents
  • Electrical burns: fortunately these are amongst the rarest forms of accident in children because modern regulations surrounding electrical safety are so good, but ensure that your children aren't able to reach electrical cables, and make sure that your plug sockets adhere to current safety standards - if they are old, replace them!
  • Contact with flame: children should rarely be exposed to direct flame but be vigilant when there is flame around, such as at the summer BBQ, birthday candles and near an open fire in winter.
  • Chemical burns: chemicals and children should never mix - make sure that your household cleaning fluids are kept in a cupboard safe from children, ensure that you don't have acid leaking from old batteries in toys, keep children indoors when using chemicals in the garden (eg. weedkillers, fence treatment, drain and patio cleaners).

The majority of accidental burns are entirely avoidable, and by being aware of likely risks, you can make sure that your children are kept safe.


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