Emergency advice

Child minor burns and scalds:

  1. Hold under cool running water, for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Cover lengthways with cling film.
  3. Seek medical advice.

What is a burn?

A burn can be caused by dry heat such as contact with fire, a hot iron, or exposure to the sun.

What is a scald?

A scald can be caused by contact with wet heat, like steam or a hot cup of tea.

Signs and symptoms

For a burn or scald, look for:

  • red skin and swelling
  • pain in the area of the burn
  • blistering may start to appear.

What to do

  1. Burns and scalds - children - start cooling the burn or scalds as quickly as possible

    Start cooling the burn or scald as quickly as possible. Hold it under cool running water for at least 10 minutes or until the pain feels better.

    • If there is no water available, you could use cold milk or canned drinks.
  2. Burns and scalds - children - remove any jewellery or clothing

    Remove any jewellery or clothing, unless stuck to the burn, before the area begins to swell.

  3. Burns and scalds - children - cover the area loosly with clingfilm

    When the burn has cooled, cover the area loosely with cling film, lengthways.

    • Do not wrap the cling film around the burn as the area needs space to swell.
    • If the burn is on a foot or hand you could use a clean plastic bag.
    • Do not use ice, creams or gels. They may cause damage and increase the risk of infection.
    • Do not break any blisters that may appear, as this may cause infection.
  4. Burns and scalds - children - monitor the child

    Monitor the child and seek medical advice, even if the burn appears minor.

Did you find this information helpful?

Related first aid advice

When to call an ambulance

At some point in their life, most people will witness or be involved in an accident or medical emergency. Knowing what to do and when you should call the emergency services can potentially save lives.

Minor burns and scalds in babies

As your baby crawls or toddles around exploring the world, they may encounter something that can burn or scald them. Find out what to look for and what to do.

Minor burns and scalds in adults

If someone receives a burn or scald, your priority is to cool the burn as quickly as possible. Find out what to look for and what to do.

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