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Pediatrics Common Questions, Quick Answers

Burns

Donna D'Alessandro, M.D.
Lindsay Huth, B.A.
Peer Review Status: Internally Reviewed
Creation Date: January 2002
Last Revision Date: April 2002


Common Questions, Quick Answers

Why are burns dangerous?

What can cause a burn?

How dangerous is the burn?

What kind of burn is it?

What should I do?

First Degree Burns
  • First degree burns (pink and red, no blisters) can be treated at home.
  • Take off hot clothes or metal rings. Cut clothing if needed.
  • Put the burned area under cold water. Do not use ice.
  • To prevent infection, keep the area clean and dry.
  • Do not put butter or cream on the burn.
  • Give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain.
  • If blisters form, call your doctor.
  • Keep your child away from the cause of the burn. For example, if she has a sunburn, keep her out of the sun.

Second Degree Burns
  • Skin burns that form blisters are second degree burns. They should be seen by a doctor.
  • If the skin is opened, peeling, or blistered, see a doctor.
  • If the area is small, cover it with a clean, wet cloth and take the child to the emergency room or your doctor.
  • If the burned area is large, call 911. Cover the child with a cloth or a clean sheet.
  • Do not move the child unless needed for safety.
  • Give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain.
  • If the child shivers, stop cooling and keep her warm.

Third Degree Burns
  • Third degree burns are the most serious. They leave the skin charred (black).
  • Your child's breathing should be checked first. Take care of burns after.
  • Treat like a second degree burn.
  • Take your child to the emergency room immediately.Image of first, second, and third degree burns to skin
  • In an emergency, dial 911.

What should I not do?

How can I prevent burns?

When should I call the doctor?

Quick Answers

References

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