I had a recent email from one of our students about the correct treatment of burns and scalds.
Below is a quick recap on what we teach on the 12 hour Paediatric First Aid course
The advice for burns and Scalds is:
Remove from the burn source.
Remove any jewellery or clothing not stuck to the skin.
Water for minimum of 10 mins this can be running water or a sink full. What you do not want to use is freezing cold water as this draws the heat from the burn to quickly and is painful for the child. When you first turn on a tap the water usually comes out tepid and then goes cold. You never run the water directly onto the burn, run it above the injury site and let the water the run onto the affected area. It is very difficult to keep a child’s burn under running water at a sink so there is your first obstacle. I like to use a couple of over the counter bought bottles of drinking water which are kept at room temperature (remember to mark these up as ‘For HSE First Aid Use Only’). These are ideal and sterile to use initially. Once emptied refill from a tap. Water from the tap that is suitable to be drunk is safe to use on burns. The minimum time water is applied depends on the size of the burn in most cases it is on average 10 mins, ideally 15 to 20 mins is best. A simple guide is if the burn is generating heat it still needs water.
The palm of the victims hand is roughly 1% so any burn bigger than this needs to be referred to the healthcare system for further treatment. Anything bigger than 10% of the body needs treating for shock as well as treating the burn.
Once you have reduced the pain and the heat being generated you need to cover the burn with a dry sterile non adherent first aid dressing or layers of cling film. ( some areas still use cling film to protect the burn but a large majority of first aid advice and some consultants prefer dry sterile dressing after initial first aid). Either non adherent dry sterile dressings or cling film is fine. If you are using cling film it is better to build the layers up carefully and not wrap the cling film around the arm. Do not pop blisters.
Parent and non childcare professionals, teachers etc links for burn advice are: