In this fast moving world it is easy to forget yourself and not take as much care every day. This is when burns or scalds can occur; dry heat objects cause a burn so things like an iron or hair styling appliances can cause skin damage. A scald is caused by hot liquid such as boiling water from the kettle or a bath hitting skin. Both are treated in the same way once the damage to the skin has happened.
In the home burns usually occur in the kitchen or with electrical items such as hair styling appliances. Children under 5 are the most likely to get burns or scalds. By nature young children are inquisitive and unaware of the dangers around them. So it is especially important to take extra care when they are around.
How to prevent burns/Scalds
Small children are curious and it’s important to monitor them at all times in the kitchen. They are more likely to touch a hot item or pull a boiling pan over themselves.
So move all cords for appliances out of reach of children. Put all pan handles facing inwards to prevent a child pulling them. Turn off cookers when finished and use the back portion of a hob area.
Teach children the importance of safety in the kitchen and the wider home environment. Keep hot drinks out of the way so there is no potential to knock them over. Never use naked flames around children such as candles…the temptation to touch can be too much for them!
In the bathroom, always test the temperature of the bath water before putting children in.
When using hair styling appliances it’s essential that you don’t rush. Burns to faces and ears can be caused by lack of concentration.
In the kitchen use an appropriate oven glove or pot holder to minimise the risk of burning hands or arms.
What if you get burnt?
A burn will usually go red and sometimes blister; swelling or peeling skin can also occur.
The burn or scald may cause intense pain and tightening of the skin. At this stage it’s important to relieve the pain if you can. If the burn or scald is minor then the following will help:
Remove any clothing from the person that is near the burn or scald (but do not remove anything stuck to the skin).
Rinse area under lukewarm or cool water for 20 minutes to reduce swelling and relieve any pain. This stops the burn getting worse.
Keep the person warm (but don’t attempt to rub the affected area)
Cover the burn when needed – so use something like clingfilm
Keep the area clean at all times to prevent infection
Take pain relief such as paracetamol or Calpol for children
If the burn is more serious or it’s a chemical burn then you must go to the accident & emergency department at your local hospital. They will assess the burn and advise you on what to do.
If you are unsure if the burn is serious or not call the NHS 111 service, they will guide you through what to do.
If you would like more information on First Aid for Parents then visit our website. All courses are administered by fully trained health professionals.
Safety First is a First Aid Company based in Bexley, South East London covering London, Kent and Essex. It is run and directed by a nurse with over 20 years of clinical experience.
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