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First aid for treating a burn by the British Red Cross

Section: Baby Health

Did you know that around 123 children are accidentally burned each week*?

As babies grow and explore their surroundings, burns can happen easily - and the most common injury is from babies and toddlers reaching up for a hot drink**.

Learning simple first aid skills will build your confidence to help if your baby has a burn.

A British Red Cross First aid for baby and child course, available at venues throughout the UK, covers a wide range of first aid scenarios, including burns, choking, febrile seizures and meningitis. Find out more here:

How to treat a burn:

  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least 10 minutes.
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.
  • Call 999 if necessary, and always seek medical advice if a baby or child has been burned.

Vikki Stow, from Chorley, was terrified when her baby daughter was burned 

First aid for treating a burn by the British Red Cross

Luckily when Vikki Stow’s baby daughter Tamzin had a burn, her husband knew that cooling the burn quickly under cold, running water was essential to help reduce pain and scarring.

“It was early in the morning when my husband made me a cup of tea. He put it on the arm of a chair to cool while I was getting ready. We didn’t realise our newly mobile daughter had spotted the steaming cup. 

“I must have had my eyes off her for less than 10 seconds when I heard an awful cry. I never want to hear that sound again.

“It was clear she was in a lot of pain. I quickly turned around to see her dropping the cup. Her arm was steaming. She had poured the whole freshly boiled cup of tea over herself.

She had poured the whole freshly boiled cup of tea over herself

“Instinct kicked in. I didn’t even think. I just shouted for my husband. I quickly whipped off her long-sleeved top because I could see it wasn’t sticking to her skin. Her arm was turning pink. It gave me a stomach-churning feeling that I will never forget.

“Luckily my husband had recently done a first aid course and knew what to do. He was already running the cold water as I carried my distressed daughter through to the kitchen.

“He used cold water to cool the burn on her arm and chest. I could see her skin peeling off and the whole of her left arm was bleeding.

“I fumbled for my phone to call 999. I don't remember much of what they said, other than we had done the right thing to put the burn under cold running water. They told us to carry on until the ambulance arrived.

“It seemed like a lifetime but when I checked later that day I realised it took just four minutes for the ambulance to get there. They told us we had done the right thing for Tamzin and most likely saved her from even worse burns. We learned that the quicker the skin is cooled the better.

“When we got to hospital they wrapped Tamzin’s arm in cling film. They said it would stop the air getting to the burned area, which is what causes the pain.

“She still has a few little red marks on her arm but they should fade with time. She's a very brave little girl.”

Find out more about British Red Cross first aid courses here

Photos: ©Bob Collier/BRC

*Hospital Episode Statistics, Admitted Patient Care, England - 2013-14


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