Basic first aid for your baby: burns and scalds

Baby crying

Accidents happen so get clued up on how to help your baby if he burns himself…

Burns are classified according to the depth of damage to the skin. There are three severities: superficial, partial-thickness, and full-thickness. It’s important to seek medical advice for all burns on babies, however serious.

  • Superficial burns are the least serious, only damaging the outer layer of the skin. They can be caused by touching a hot surface or from a small, hot spillage.
  • Partial-thickness burns are more serious and cause the skin to turn red, raw and blister.
  • Full thickness-burns occur when all the layers of skin are burned. The nerves and muscles may also be damaged. The seriousness depends on the size of the affected area.

What you should do… for minor burns

  1. Hold the affected area under cold water for at least 10 minutes to stop the burning and relieve pain.
  2. Once cooled, remove any clothing from the area. If it’s stuck, cut round the material – never try to rip clothing if it’s stuck to the burn.
  3. Cover the burn with a non-fluffy, sterile dressing, and bandage loosely in place. A clean plastic bag or cling film will do if you have nothing else.
  4. Keep your baby warm and take him to hospital.

What you should do… for more serious burns

  1. Dial 999 for an ambulance.
  2. Lay your baby down and cool the burn with water for 10 minutes, or until help arrives.
  3. Keep an eye on his breathing and pulse.
  4. Watch for signs of shock: pale, cold, sweaty skin, a rapid pulse that becomes weaker and shallow and fast breathing.

Do not:

  • Give him anything to eat or drink.
  • Put any ointment on the burns.

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