Burns and children

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Burns and scalds are a hazardous problem for children, between January and December 2007 there were 1,394 Victorian children treated in hospital for burns and scald injuries. Most people only notice the pain of a burn and the scaring that may occur, but the damage of burns can go way further than just the intense pain that is experienced. Quite often burns can have long lasting damage on a child for the rest of his/her life. It depends on the degree of the burn and the location, but a serve burn can damage the nerves. Some burns can also damage the bones, tendons and muscles found under the skin. If the burn affects the nerves it can cause loss of feeling to the burnt area. Without treatment and rehabilitation the person may never be able to gain feeling of the affected area again. Burns may also require the person to have surgery/rehabilitation to help/gain movement and feeling in the affected area.

Burns and scalds safety tips

- Make sure that all hot beverages are placed out of reach of young children’s reach

- When nursing a child avoid drinking hot beverages

- Try to keep children out of the kitchen during food preparation.

- Ensure all pan handles and electric wires are out of the children’s reach.

- Bathroom hot tap water set to a maximum of 50ºC.

- Always test bath water before allowing children to bathe.

- When running a bath always run the cold water first, and turn it off last.

- The maximum bathing temperature for children is 38ºC.

- Place guards around all fires and heaters.

- Closely supervise children around BBQ’s

What to do if your child is burnt

Cool the burn by running cool water over the burnt area for 20 minutes.


Remove any clothing immediately. Clothes can hold the heat and cause more damage.


Do not use ice, oil, butter or ointments on the burn. These can cause the heat to be trapped causing more damage to the skin.


Cover burns with a clean cloth and get medical help, in an emergency please call 000.