Burns and scalds

​In children, burns and scalds are most commonly caused by hot water, coffee or milk spilling on their skin. Some burns are caused by hot objects (stove, oven, cooker). Burns tend to penetrate deeper than scalds.



Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water for a minimum of 20 minutes. Make sure the child keeps warm, especially when the burn area is large. Cool water will also help to alleviate the pain. Even minor burns can be very painful. Give your child antipyretics or analgesics to manage the pain.

Do not apply any creams or grease on the burnt area unless instructed to do so. After cooling the burn with water, cover the area with a clean gauze. Do not burst small blisters (smaller than the size of your fingertip) that might form in the burn area. New skin grows under the blister. However, if the blisters that form are large, seek medical assistance.
Small burns and scalds can be treated at home. Shower the area daily with cool water and apply a Mepitel film (available in pharmacies) or paraffin gauzes (Sofratulle/Unitulle) on the wound and cover them with gauze dressings. Clear tissue fluid is drained from recent burns and scalds. Therefore, it is important to apply enough dressings (to prevent the risk of infection). The use of bandages or other tight gauzes is not recommended. Do not go to the sauna or take a bath before the wound has healed properly.

When to seek medical assistance


Seek medical assistance when the affected area is large (larger than the child's hand) or in the facial, hand, foot or genital area. If the burn patient is under 1 year old, always seek medical assistance.



Look for signs of infection; is the discharge purulent or does it have a distinct odour? Has the patient developed a fever? Is there a throbbing pain which increases with time? If such symptoms occur, contact your treating physician or local health station.