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First Aid & Emergencies

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Treating Burns and Scalds in Children

Call 911 if:

  • The burned area is charred or white.
  • Electric shock or chemicals caused the burn.
  • The burn is on the face, hands, feet, genitals, or a joint.
  • The burn covers 10% or more of the body.

  • The burned area is charred or white.
  • Electric shock or chemicals caused the burn.
  • The burn is on the face, hands, feet, genitals, or a joint.
  • The burn covers 10% or more of the body.

You can treat mild 1st degree burns -- those that look like sunburns -- at home. Second- or 3rd degree burns need immediate medical attention.

Call Doctor If:

  • The burn is oozing or seems infected (red, swollen, tender).

1. Soak the Burn

  • Immediately put the burned area in cool -- not cold -- water or under a faucet.
  • Keep the injury in water for at least five to 15 minutes.
  • Do not use ice.

2. Remove Burned Clothing

  • If the clothing is stuck to the skin, do not peel it away. Leave it in place and cut away the clothing around it.

3. Cover the Burn

  • Use nonstick gauze or a clean cloth.
  • If the burn is mild, you may put on antibiotic ointment.
  • Don't put butter, grease, or anything else on the burn, and do not pop any blisters.

4. Reduce Pain

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 15, 2015

First Aid A-Z

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