Burns & Lacerations

The most common cause of childhood burns is scalding.

What are the common causes of burns?

The most common cause of childhood burns is scalding. Your child might spill a hot drink or soup on themselves or even use water that’s too hot to wash their hands.

Other common causes of burns include contact with a heated object like a stove, hair straightener, or fireplace; chemical burns from cleaning solvents and batteries; electrical burns; and sunburn.

The three types of burns are classified by the degree of damage they cause.

First-degree burns make the skin red, swollen, and painful and affect only the surface of the skin. Second-degree burns damage deeper layers of skin, causing blisters and more intense pain than a first-degree burn.

Third-degree burns are the most severe type. They damage all layers of the skin and underlying tissue. Third-degree burns can appear white and waxy or the skin will look brown or charred. Your child might not be in any pain at first as a third-degree burns damage nerves.

What should I do if my child suffers a burn?

Your first step is to move your child away from the heat source. If they have a second- or third-degree burn, take them directly to Night Watch Pediatric Urgent Care. If you can, call ahead to let the team know that you’re coming and provide details about your child’s burn.

You can often treat first-degree burns at home by running cool water over the injury and applying an aloe vera gel or cream. Never use butter, grease, or another type of lotion as these products can make the burn deeper. You can also give your child ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) — use an appropriate dose for their age and weight — to reduce their pain and swelling.

In the case of a chemical burn, flush the area with clean, cool water, and make your way to Night Watch Pediatric Urgent Care as soon as possible.

What types of burns need to be treated by a doctor?

You should always seek medical treatment for second- and third-degree burns. These burns penetrate the skin more deeply and increase your child’s risk of infection, scarring, and nerve damage.

A doctor should also assess and treat any signs of infection like oozing fluid or pus. All chemical burns should be evaluated and treated by a doctor, including ingested chemicals, skin burns, and a chemical splashed into your child’s eyes.

Call Night Watch Urgent Care or schedule an appointment online today for expert pediatric burn care.

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