Preventing Accidents: Burn Injuries

Burn injuries are extremely dangerous injuries for babies and young children, and are one of the major causes of preventable accidents. Burn injuries should be taken very seriously, especially if the burn is severe or if the burn affects a wide area of the body. Chemical burns or electrical burns should be rare, but if they do occur, contact a doctor immediately regardless of how small the area affected is. The most common source of burns, however, is from simply not understanding how vulnerable a baby´s skin can be. Almost all burn injuries can be prevented with knowledge and diligence from parents.

Babies have very thin skin, and will burn much easier than an adult, making them vulnerable to serious injuries from seemingly innocuous sources. Leaving your baby in the sun for a few minutes, or having the tap left on when bathing can both cause serious injury to your baby´s sensitive and vulnerable skin. Babies´ skin should not be exposed to the sun until the baby is 6 months old, and after that care should be taken to protect the baby´s skin. When bathing, remember to turn off the tap after the bath water is lukewarm. A running tap can very quickly change the temperature of the water to a level that can burn the baby´s skin; what is worse, the change in temperature may seem subtle to the parent, who may not notice the damage that it is doing to the baby´s skin.

Other burn injuries increase in frequency as the baby gains mobility and starts to reach out towards other objects. Hot liquids, such as coffee are very common sources of burns, and can cause significant pain and skin damage to a baby. Always keep hot liquids and other sources of potential heat out of a baby´s reach. Liquid burns are very dangerous as the baby´s skin is exposed to extreme hot temperatures.

Prevention is clearly the best solution when it comes to burns. Despite a parent´s best diligence, unfortunately, accidents do happen from time to time. If your baby does become burned, after removing the baby from further possible harm, quickly assess the extent of the burn. Wash the burned area with cold water for 10 minutes. Do not apply ice, ointments, butter, or any other substances, and do not blow on the baby´s burn. If the burn shows blistering, or affects a large area of the skin, don't hesitate to call a doctor.

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