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Burns & Scalds

Burns and scalds in the home are common. Toddlers and young children can get burnt as they explore and make sense of the world around them.

Knowing how to prevent burns and scalds and what to do if your child is burned can really help to prevent serious injuries.  

Always act quickly if your child is burnt or scalded - this helps them to heal better. If your child is under 5 and has a burn or scald, always seek advice from a health professional. 

  • A burn is caused by dry heat – by an iron, hair straighteners, or even a hot radiator.

    A scald is caused by something wet, such as a hot bath or cup of tea.

    Burns can be very painful but remember the amount of pain your child feels isn't always related to how serious the burn is. 

    A very serious burn may cause:

  • Treating burns and scalds – remember CCC - Cool, Cover, Call

    • First, move your child away from the heat source to stop the burning
    • Remove any clothing or jewellery that are near the burn, including babies' nappies, but don't move anything that's stuck to the skin 
    • Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for at least 10 minutes. Don't use ice, iced water, or any creams or greasy substances such as butter. Don't put your child in a cold bath 
    • Cover the burn with a layer of cling film. A clean plastic bag could also be used for burns on the hand
    • Call (GP, 111, or 999) to seek medical advice if your child is under 5, or if you are worried
    • Make sure they keep warm – you could use a blanket. Take care not to rub it against the burnt area
    • Use paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat any pain
    • If the face or eyes are burnt, sit up your child as much as possible, this helps to reduce swelling.
  • Top tips to lessen the chance of burns and scalds 

    • When running the bath, put the cold water in first and then top it up with hot water. Test the temperature using your elbow before you put your baby or toddler in.
    • Keep matches, lighters and cigarettes out of reach.
    • Keep hot drinks out of reach - they can still burn 15 minutes after being made.
    • Keep saucepans at the back of the cooker where possible. Turn the handles out of reach.
    • Put fireguards in front of very hot radiators, open fires, or wood burners.
    • Don’t warm your baby's bottle in the microwave.
    • Stay with children when they are in the kitchen or bathroom.
    • Keep hair straighteners out of reach.

Who Can Help?


You can contact a member of the 0-19 Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

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