First aid treatment for burns in children and babies

First aid treatment for burns in children and babies: Essential guidelines

Every year, thousands of children and babies suffer from burns, often in the safety of their homes. While these incidents can be distressing, knowing the correct first aid procedures can make all the difference in minimising damage and promoting faster healing. In this blog, Rose delves into crucial first aid treatments for burns in children and babies, emphasising the importance of preparedness and swift action.

Key facts and statistics

  • Burns are a leading cause of injury among children, with approximately 300,000 children under the age of 19 receiving emergency treatment for burns in the UK each year (NHS).
  • Scalds from hot liquids are the most common type of burn injury in children under five years old (British Burns Association).
  • Children have thinner skin than adults, making them more susceptible to burns, and burns covering more than 10% of the body can result in severe complications, including shock and infection.

Key definitions

  • Burns - Damage to the skin caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, or radiation.
  • Scalds - Burns caused by hot liquids or steam.

Legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide adequate first aid facilities, equipment, and personnel to handle burn incidents in the workplace (Health and Safety Executive).
  • The Childcare Act 2006 and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework outline safeguarding measures, including first aid requirements, for childcare providers in England (GOV.UK).
  • Best practice guidelines from organisations such as the British Burns Association and St John Ambulance provide comprehensive protocols for assessing and treating burns in children and babies.

Recognising burn severity

  • First-degree burns - Affect the outer layer of the skin, causing redness and pain.
  • Second-degree burns - Affect both the outer and underlying layers of skin, causing blistering and more intense pain.
  • Third-degree burns - Penetrate through all layers of the skin and may appear charred or white.

Immediate action

  • Stop the burning - By removing the child from the heat source and extinguishing the flames, or rinse the burn area with cool running water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove clothing - Remove clothing from the burned area to prevent further damage.
  • Cover the burn - Use a clean, non-fluffy material to cover the burn and reduce the risk of infection.

Seeking medical attention

  • For severe burns or burns covering a large body area, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Do not apply ointments, butter, or ice to the burn, as these can worsen the injury.


  • Keep hot liquids out of reach, and never leave children unattended near heat sources or open flames.
  • Install smoke alarms and develop a family fire escape plan to prevent burn injuries at home.


In the event of a burn incident involving a child or baby, swift and appropriate first aid can significantly improve outcomes and minimise long-term effects. By familiarising ourselves with the correct procedures and staying vigilant in preventing burn hazards, we can create safer environments for our little ones.

Ensure your workplace or childcare setting has the necessary first aid resources and personnel trained in pediatric first aid. Click here to learn how to respond effectively to burn emergencies involving children and babies.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

First aid treatment for burns in children and babies: Essential guidelines - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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