CHILD BURNS

Myranda Byouk

What is a burn?

A burn is the destruction of the different layers of the skin and the structures within the skin, such as sweat glands, oil glands, and hair follicles. Heat generated from the fire or heat source and the amount of time the skin is exposed to the heat is what damages the skin. The depth of injury is described as a first, second, and third degree burn.

Common Causes of a Burn

  • scalds (from steam, hot bath water, tipped-over coffee cups, hot foods, cooking fluids, etc.)
  • contact with flames or hot objects (from the stove, fireplace, curling iron, etc.)
  • chemical burns (from swallowing things, like drain cleaner or watch batteries, or spilling chemicals, such as bleach, onto the skin)
  • electrical burns (from biting on electrical cords or sticking fingers or objects in electrical outlets, etc.)
  • overexposure to the sun

Rehabilitation

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists may be involved in your child’s recovery. When burns heal, the skin may get tight. This is also true for skin grafts. Tight skin can affect range of motion, especially if a burn covers a joint.


Physiotherapists will assess your child and create a daily exercise plan. These exercises will stretch the skin to help it stay mobile as it heals. If mobility becomes a problem, occupational therapists can make plastic splints for your child. A splint is a firm piece of plastic molded to fit an area that needs to be stretched. A splint will help prevent tightening of the skin and maintain your child’s range of motion. Splints may need to be worn during the day or night, or both. Generally, splints are used for a few weeks to a few months. How well splints work at preventing tightness depends on your child and the specifics of the injury.

What you can do

  1. Stay positive
  2. Be supportive
  3. Keep the family in the know
  4. Stay informed on medical treatment
  5. Be gentle with the child

Resources

How to identify different types of burns

This website will tell you how to identify burns and what you can do for them.