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Preventing Burns and Scalds

Each year, around 500 children under the age of 15 present to the Perth Children’s Hospital Emergency Department with a burn or scald injury. Most of these injuries happen in or around the home, with the kitchen being the most common place for a burn or scald injury to occur.

Young children under the age of five are particularly at risk of burn and scald injuries, accounting for 67% of all burn and scald injuries in children
between 2017 and 2018. Even with a parent present, burns and scalds can happen very quickly, so it is important to be alert and minimise the risk of
an injury where possible.

Tips for keeping kids safe from burns in and around your home:

  • Keep small children out of the kitchen when cooking to avoid burns and scalds caused by hot food and drinks.
  • Never hold a child while preparing or consuming hot food and drinks.
  • When bathing children, never leave running water unattended and always test the water temperature before you let them get in.
  • Always run cold water at the start and end of running a bath so that the spout is left cool.
  • Set the thermostat on your hot water system to a maximum of 50°C. Hot water from the tap at 60°C can burn in less than a second, so it is best to set
    the water temperature to keep the risk to a minimum.
  • Always turn taps off tightly, so little hands can’t turn them on themselves.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Make sure you have them installed and replace the batteries on April 1st every year.
  • Keep candles away from curtains and other materials and never leave them unattended.
  • Install guards around fires and heaters and always supervise children when they are in use.

First Aid Treatment for Burns

If your child does suffer a burn or scald, follow these steps to reduce the severity of the injury:

  • REMOVE – Remove yourself from danger and remove any nappies or clothing from the child so heat can escape.
  • COOL – Place the burn under cool running water for at least 20 minutes. Do not use ice, butter, or any ointments on the burn as this
    can cause further damage.
  • COVER – Cover the burn with cling wrap or a clean damp cloth.
  • SEEK – Seek medical attention if the burn is bigger than a 20 cent piece, or starts to blister. In an emergency, call 000 for an ambulance.

The majority of burns and scalds are preventable, and by being aware and making small changes, you can help to keep you and your family safe.

For more information on preventing burns and scalds, click on the links below:

National Burns Awareness Month resources

Burns and Scalds Animation