Burns and scalds are one of the top causes of injury hospitalisation to Western Australian children, with nearly 500 children presenting to Perth Children’s Hospital Emergency Department (formally PMH ED) every year. Children aged under five are particularly at risk as they are becoming increasingly mobile but do not have the skills to assess dangers.
Common causes of burns and scalds in children include hot food and drink, hot water, heaters and fires, and household appliances. Many steps can be taken to prevent burns and scalds:
- Ensure children are supervised around potential burn and scald hazards.
- Set the hot water delivery temperature in the home to a maximum of 50°C. A licensed plumber can do this for you.
- When bathing your child, turn the cold water on first and off last, and never leave a hot running bath unattended.
- Never hold a child while having a hot drink.
- Install guards around heaters and fireplaces.
- Keep children out of the kitchen in a safe play area while cooking.
- Choose low fire-risk children’s nightwear that is close fitting and made of less flammable material.
- Keep appliances and cords out of reach of children.
- Install smoke alarms, test them regularly and replace batteries on 1st April every year.
- Develop a home fire escape plan with your family.
Administering first aid to burns and scalds straight away can help to reduce the severity of the injury. If your child sustains a burn or scald, follow these steps:
- Remove any wet clothes. If the clothes are stuck to the skin, keep them on.
- Immediately run the burn or scald under cool running water for at least 20 minutes – do not use ice, ointments, oils, butter or creams.
- Keep the child warm to prevent them from going into shock.
- Seek medical attention if the burn or scald is on the face, hands, feet, genitals or buttocks, or if it is larger than a 20 cent coin or blistered.
Follow the links below for more information on burns and scalds: