What to Do If Your Child Is Burned by Hot Water

What to Do If Your Child Is Burned by Hot Water

Last update: 02 July, 2018

Hot water burns are one of the most common household accidents suffered by children and adults. Therefore, we’ll explain the treatment for the different types and help you understand what to do if your child is burned by hot water.

There are different types of burns: on the one hand, there are minor burns, which can be treated with ointments and analgesics. On the other hand, there are severe burns, which require an immediate visit to the emergency room.

Certainly, you should know that boiling water tends to cause first and second degree burns. First degree burns cause redness, burning and pain. Usually, they heal in a week and leave no scars.

On the other hand, second-degree burns usually cause blisters and intense burning pain. The most superficial wounds heal within 10 to 15 days without leaving scars, while deeper wounds require more healing time and can leave marks.

Children don’t stop moving around the house, and the possibility of suffering a domestic accident of this type is very real. Therefore, this article aims to provide you with the necessary advice to treat your child in the event that he suffers a hot water burn.

What to do if your child is burned by hot water

Now, we’ll distinguish the difference between mild and severe burns and the procedure you must carry out for each of them:

Treatment of a mild burn

In these less serious cases, the first thing we advise you to do is examine the burn to analyze its extent. If the burn is small, you can treat it without major difficulties. On the other hand, a larger burn will require professional intervention.

What to Do If Your Child Is Burned by Hot Water

Characteristics of minor burns:

  • The affected area is sore, red and swollen, but isn’t flaky and doesn’t blister.
  • The affected area may have blisters, but the diameter or the irritated area doesn’t exceed 5-8 cm.
  • Desquamation and deconstruction of the superficial layers or just reddening
  • Intense pain, burning and moderate inflammation.

To perform the treatment, you must remove any clothing that covers the burn. We recommend covering the skin with a damp towel or submerging the affected area in warm water for 10 to 30 minutes. 

This will cause the skin to cool and stop the inflammation process. You can protect the area with compresses and a sterile bandage to protect the child against infections.

Finally, you can administer an analgesic and use aloe vera gel in the event the skin is intact. 

If the burn is small, you can treat it without major difficulties, while a burn of greater dimension will require professional intervention.

Treatment of a severe burn

In cases where the burn is extensive or deep, the first thing you should do is go immediately to the hospital to examine it. If the burn covers an area larger than the size of your hand, it will require professional intervention. For the little ones, this type of burn can cause the appearance of other symptoms.

Severe burns cause changes in the child, so it isn’t recommended that you give any medication, as it could cause an adverse effect.

Keep in mind that with severe burns, you should not apply any product, whether ointments, aloe vera or moisturizers. The only thing recommended in these cases, while waiting for the arrival of medical assistance, is to carefully cover the area with a compress or sterile bandage.

Deeper burns will require surgical treatment, while others will only require analgesia and antibiotics after 24 hours.

What to Do If Your Child Is Burned by Hot Water

Characteristics of severe burns:

  • Loss of skin layers
  • The skin has a dry appearance
  • White spots on the skin
  • Edema
  • Necrosis
  • Infection

Finally, we remind you that the healing times vary greatly depending on the child’s state of health and the extent of the burn. In general, a mild burn will heal completely in 5-7 days, while a severe burn will heal in 2-3 weeks.

The cases of children who are burned by hot water unfortunately occur very frequently and may end up causing serious consequences. If this happens to your child, we recommend that you follow the above advice to minimize the impact and to reassure the child.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.