How to Treat a Burn on a Child

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Burns happen for a number of reasons, from scalding hot water to unattended candles. They are painful and scary, but knowing how to react to your child’s burn can make a difference in the outcome. The severity of the burn plays a large role in the course of treatment and whether your child needs medical treatment. Keeping a fully stocked first-aid kit on-hand makes fast treatment of the burn easier.

Step 1

Look at the burn to determine the severity. First-degree burns are minor with redness and swelling, second-degree burns cause blistering and swelling, and third-degree burns are the most severe, leaving the skin white or charred.

Step 2

Place a sterile cloth over the burn and call 911 or go to the ER if your child has third-degree burns. Avoid contact with the burn because of the risk of infection.

Step 3

Submerge the burned area in cool water if the burns are less severe. Keep the affected area in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also apply cool compresses to the burn if you prefer.

Step 4

Pat the burn dry with a clean towel. Inspect the burn to identify any blistering and to see how large of an area was affected.

Step 5

Cover the burn with antiseptic ointment if it blistered. Don’t pop the blisters, as you could slow the healing. Cover the area with sterile bandages.

Step 6

Take your child to the doctor after you treat the burn if it appears to be a second-degree burn or if the burned area is larger than 2 inches. BabyCenter recommends taking your child to the doctor for burns on the hands, face or genitals and for electrical burns.

Step 7

Monitor the healing process of the burn. Take your child to the doctor if it doesn’t heal or if it appears infected. This could include continued pain, pus, a strange odor, fever or other unusual symptoms associated with the burn.

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