5 Types of Burns, and How to Treat Them

child touching stoveAny home with electricity and running water comes with the risk of burns. According to KidsHealth.org, burns are one of the most common accidents that happen to children. No matter how closely you watch and protect your children, accidents still happen. So what do you do if your little one experiences a burn?

There are five common causes of burns:

  1. Scalds, which are caused by steam from hot liquids.
  2. Burns caused by direct contact with either flames or hot objects.
  3. Chemical burns, caused by either swallowing or coming in contact with corrosive substances.
  4. Electrical burns, which can happen if your child bites down on an electrical cord or sticks his fingers in an electrical outlet.
  5. Sunburns, caused by overexposure to the sun.

There are also three categories to classify the severity of a burn —first-, second-, and third-degree.

First-degree burns affect the outermost layer of the skin. These cause the least damage of the three types. A first-degree burn will look red and swollen, and will cause minor pain. To treat a first-degree burn, run cool water over the wound for a few minutes, then pat the skin dry and cover with a bandage to prevent infection and protect the skin.

Second-degree burns affect the first and second layers of skin. These look like first-degree burns, except they may also cause blisters, and are accompanied by more severe pain.

Do not break any blisters that form on your child’s skin, as this increases the risk of infection.

Second-degree burns can be treated similarly to first-degree burns, except extra care must be taken with blisters.

Do not break any blisters that form on your child’s skin, as this increases the risk of infection.

Third-degree burns affect every layer of the skin. Third-degree burns differ from the other two types in that they will look either black and charred, or white and waxy. Your child may not feel any pain from a third-degree burn because of the damage it causes to nerves. If your child experiences a third-degree burn, call a doctor immediately, or call 911 if the burn is severe.

You also need to call a doctor if your child has a large second-degree burn, is having trouble breathing, isn't responding, or has an electrical or external chemical burn. If an internal chemical burn occurs, contact the Poison Control Center.

{ MORE: Young Children, Pills, & Poisoning }

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Additionally, most burns can be prevented. To stop a burn before it even happens, try the following tips from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Turn the thermostat on your hot water heater down.
  • Unplug hot items, like flat, curling, and clothing irons, when not in use.
  • Test the temperature of your child’s food before serving it to her.
  • Use plastic plugs in electrical outlets, and keep electrical cords out of the reach of your children.

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5 Types of Burns, and How to Treat Them

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