Burns

What to look for, and what to do

Burns, no matter how big or how severe, are a scary injury for both your child and for you! At Just 4 Kids, we have seen and treated many different kinds of burns and understand how frightening they can be. Burns are a type of damage to body tissue by heat, chemicals, sunlight, hot liquids, and other various causes. They are generally classified by severity as 1st degree, 2nd degree, or 3rd degree, the last being the most severe.

It can be hard to diagnose which type of burn your child may have by yourself. Use this guide to help determine what degree of burn your child might have, and as always, if you have any questions please contact us.

1st Degree Burns

First degree burns, or “superficial burns”, only affect the outermost layer of skin, causing very minimal damage. They are common and happen to people every day. Kids are especially susceptible as they are very curious-minded!

Symptoms of a 1st Degree Burn:

  • Minor inflammation
  • Redness
  • Hot to the touch
  • Pain on and around the affected area
  • Dry skin that peels as it heals

Typically this type of burn heals within 7 to 10 days, and most of the time they can be treated easily at home.

How to Treat a 1st Degree Burn:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) can help ease pain and swelling.
  • Soak the wound in cool water, but do not use ice. It can make the damage to the skin worse.
  • Apply lidocaine or aloe vera to the area, it will help soothe the burn.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin or Neosporin to help protect the area from infection.
  • Avoid cotton balls. The fibers can get stuck to the skin and increase the risk of getting the injury infected. If you must cover it, try to use loose gauze instead.
  • If the burn is larger than three inches, or on your child’s face or a major joint such as the ankle, knee, shoulder, or elbow, you should consider having a doctor take a look at it. If it takes longer than 10 days to heal, you should take your child to the doctor. There may be an infection or other irritation that is keeping it from healing properly.

2nd Degree Burns

This type of injury is much more serious, and has the ability to cause much more damage than a minor first degree burn. Second degree burns damages beneath the top layer of the skin, and most often results in uncomfortable blisters and sores.

Symptoms of a 2nd Degree Burn:

  • Inflammation
  • Blisters that have a wet looking or weeping appearance
  • Redness
  • Hot to the touch
  • Pain on and/or around the affected area
  • Dry skin that peels as it heals

These burns may be painful and scary for your child, but like first degree burns, most can be treated successfully at home. Most minor second degree burns can take anywhere from 10 days to three weeks, although more serious injuries may take longer. There also may be some discoloration in the skin after it has healed.

How to Treat a 2nd Degree Burn:

  • It is incredibly important to keep the area clean. Encourage your child to refrain from touching the area, popping any blisters, or removing any bandages.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) can help ease pain and swelling.
  • Soak the wound in cool water, but do not use ice. It can make the damage to the skin worse.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin or Neosporin to help protect the area from infection.

Again, avoid cotton balls. Use loose gauze and an antibiotic cream, proper bandaging can be vital to keeping infection from a wound. Contact your primary care physician, or Just 4 Kids if the burn is larger than the aforementioned three inches, on their face or a major joint. Other treatment may be necessary such as antibiotics or even skin grafting for injuries that are more severe. At Just 4 Kids, we are well equipped to treat first degree and most second degree burns.

3rd Degree Burns

No parent wants to hear that their child has a third degree burn. This is typically the most severe type of burn that your child might face. This type of injury damages every layer of the skin, and should not be treated at home.

Symptoms of a 3rd Degree Burn:

  • White color with a waxy appearance
  • Swelling
  • Dark brown, red, or yellow color
  • Skin that has a raised, leather-like texture
  • There may not be any pain, as nerves can be damaged or shock can cause a lack of response
  • Char

Any third degree burn should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible, as it has an increased risk of infection, blood loss, or even shock. Wounds that are not addressed have little chance of healing on their own. Do not undress your child, but try to make sure there is no clothing stuck to the burn. If you can, try to keep the injury raised above their heart. This type of burn is best treated at the emergency room.

Have you ever heard the saying, “The best defense is a good offense”? At Just 4 Kids, we couldn’t agree more. The best thing you can do to protect your child from burns is being proactive about preventing them.

Here are a few great tips we love to share with our parents:

Keep the kitchen a “kid-free zone” during cooking, unless supervised.
Turn your pot handles away from the front of the stove where small hands can easily grab them.
Keep a fire extinguisher in your home in an accessible area for you and other responsible adults.
Test smoke detectors monthly, and replace them once every ten years or so.
Keep matches, lighters, and harmful chemicals out of child’s reach.
Discard any damaged electrical wires.
Install outlet covers.
Always test bath water temperature before placing your child in it.
Apply sunscreen to your child when they spend time outside.
Frequently clean your dryer lint traps.