Symptom Home Care Guides

Burns

Burn injuries are common in children. Thankfully, most burns are minor and can be handled easily at home.

Minor burns are often caused by:

  • Touching a stove, fireplace, or other hot object
  • Hot liquids

Minor first degree burns usually involve a small area of the body (less than a quarter size or so) and are painful because they aren't serious enough to damage the nerves in the burned area. They will usually appear smooth and the upper layers of the skin will turn red or white with a red border. First degree burns also don't usually blister.

Home care tips for minor burns:

  • immediately place the burned area of the body under cool running water
  • continue flushing for 5-10 minutes (good luck with those wiggly toddlers!)
  • cover burn with antibiotic ointment (e.g. bacitracin) and a clean dry band-aid

If the burn looks significantly worse the next day (still painful or larger), it's probably worth a same day provider's visit to get it checked out.

Burns bigger than a quarter, particularly those that are blistering (a sign of a deeper burn), warrant a same day provider's visit. Burns can worsen over time so it's important to have them checked out.

Serious burns (bigger than 10x the size of your child's palm if older than 10 years old, or bigger than 5x the size of your child's palm if younger than 10 years old) or burns that appear black or leathery/white, warrant an emergency room visit.

This symptom guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you think your child may have a life threatening emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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