Is this your child's symptom?
- Burns to the skin
- A burn is a heat, chemical or electrical injury to the skin
If NOT, try one of these:
Causes of Burns
- Hot Liquids. Hot liquids (such as coffee) are the most common cause of burns. They cause a scald.
- Hot Surfaces. Examples are ovens, stoves, space heaters and curling irons.
- Chemical Burns (Serious). Examples are acids or lye splashed on the skin. They continue to damage the skin until they are removed.
- Electrical Burns (Serious). They can be much deeper than they first appear.
- Flame Burns (Serious). Flammable liquid burns are mainly seen in teen boys.
- Friction Burns. Treadmill burns are a common example.
- Sunburn is not covered here. See the Sunburn care guide.
Degrees of Burns
- 1st degree. Red skin without blisters. These burns don't need to be seen.
- 2nd degree. Red skin with blisters. Heals from the bottom up, not from the edges. Takes 2 to 3 weeks. Small closed blisters decrease pain and act as a natural bandage.
- 3rd degree. Deep burns with white or charred skin. There are no blisters. Skin feeling is lost. Heals in from the edges. Grafts are often needed if it is larger than a quarter in size. These are burns over 1 inch or 2.5 cm. Skin grafts help limit scarring.
When to Call for Burn
Call 911 Now
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
Self Care at Home
Care Advice for 1st Degree Burns or Small Blisters
- What You Should Know About Burns :
- Minor burns can be treated at home.
- This includes some small blisters.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Cold Pack for Pain:
- For pain, put a cold wet washcloth on the burn.
- Repeat as needed.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
- Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
- Use as needed.
- Clean the Burn:
- Wash the burn gently with warm water.
- Do not use soap unless the burn is dirty. Reason: Soaps can slow healing.
- Closed Blisters - Don't Open:
- Don't open any small closed blisters.
- The outer skin protects the burn from infection.
- Antibiotic Ointment for Open Blisters:
- For any broken blisters, use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin). No prescription is needed.
- Then cover it with a bandage (such as Band-Aid). Change the dressing every other day.
- Each time, clean the area. Use warm water and 1 or 2 gentle wipes with a wet washcloth.
- What to Expect:
- Most often, burns hurt for about 2 days.
- It will peel like a sunburn in about a week.
- First- and second-degree burns don't leave scars.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Severe pain lasts over 2 hours after taking pain medicine
- Burn starts to look infected (spreading redness, pus)
- Burn not healed after 10 days
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.