Paediatric Burns

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Petra has made herself a cup of tea but had to step out for a while and left her 2.5-year-old son Tom unsupervised. He reached for the cup, knocked it off the side and onto himself, spilling the tea over his chin, upper chest and right forearm.

What would you do if you were in Petra’s situation?

While keeping the wet clothes on, we call EMS, cool the burns with cold water, we may apply cold compresses to the extremities.

Wrong answer

Wet clothes must be taken off to not prolong heat exposure to the skin.


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We carefully change the wet clothes to dry. We do not call EMS because nothing serious has happened.

Wrong answer

Wet clothes must be taken off to not prolong heat exposure to the skin. The child is burned on a large part of the body, so it is necessary to call EMS.


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We carefully remove the wet clothes and then we call EMS. The next step is to cool the burns at intervals in cold water. Cold compresses can be applied to the extremities.

Correct answer

When providing first aid, it is important not to panic. Removing wet clothes is paramount unless they are stuck to the skin (e.g. in oil burns).

It is important to take off all heat-conducting objects and objects which might be impossible to remove if the affected part of the body gets swollen (jewellery). Then call EMS.

The most appropriate way to cool the burns is to keep them under cold or lukewarm running water at intervals (avoid ice water – the water temperature should not be below 8 °C and the cooled area should not exceed 5 % of the body surface). Burns on the face, neck and hands should be prioritised. Blisters should not be pierced as they help to speed up the healing process and to prevent an infection.


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We carefully take off the wet clothes and then we call EMS. We should not cool the burns at all.

Wrong answer

First aid includes cooling the burns under running cold or lukewarm water at intervals.


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EMS – emergency medical services×
 
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