Burns and scalds in babies

As your baby explores the world around them, they may come into contact with something that can burn or scald them. A burn is usually caused by dry heat, like a flame or fire, a hot iron, or sunshine. A scald is caused by wet heat, like steam or a hot cup of tea.

Read the advice below to find out how to treat your baby if they have a burn or a scald. You may also need to treat them for shock.

Watch our video - what to do if your baby has a burn or scald

What to look for:

  • They may cry or appear to be in pain
  • You may see reddened or a swollen patch of skin
  • There may be blisters
  • You may see peeling skin

What to do if your baby has a burn or scald

Run the burn under cold waterPut cling film over the burn

1. Run the area under cold water: move your baby away from the source of heat and cool the burn or scald by running it under cold water. Don’t use ice, creams or gels – they can damage tissues and increase the risk of infection.

2. Remove the clothing around the burn unless it’s stuck to it.

3. Protect from infection: cover the burn with cling film or a clean plastic bag to protect it from infection. Don't wrap the cling film too tightly as it can cut off circulation.

4. Always seek medical advice if your baby has a burn or a scald. Serious burns or scalds are where the burn is on the face, hands or feet, if the injured area is larger than the size of the baby’s hand, or if it’s a deep burn. Serious burns need emergency treatment - call 999 or 112.

5. While you are waiting for help, treat them for shock if necessary.

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