Most Common Sources of Burns

  • Hot liquids
    • Coffee or soup
  • Hot surfaces
    • Ovens, stoves, space heaters, curling irons, outdoor grills, fireplaces, warm-mist humidifiers. 
  • Direct source of fire
    • Fires in fireplaces or fire pits, candles.
  • Chemical burns
    • Acids/chemicals splashed on the skin.
  • Electrical burns
  • Friction burns
    • Treadmill burns are a common example.
  • The sun 

Tips to Prevent Burns

  • Keep candles, matches, and lighters away from your child.
  • Set your hot-water heater to 120°F or lower.
  • Keep any hot objects away from the edge of the table or stove (including cups of hot beverages or foods).
    • Turn the handles of pots and pans inward away from the edge of the stove.
    • Consider using oven knob childproof covers.
      • An example of these can be found here.
  • Do not hold your child while cooking on the stove or opening the oven.
  • Never carry your child while holding hot liquids at the same time.
  • Use a cool-mist, not a warm-mist humidifier. 
  • Have a smoke detector on each floor of your home and check the batteries and test the detectors regularly.
  • Cover car seats and seat belts with a cloth if your car is sitting in the sun on a hot day.
  • Use sunscreen if you are going to be in the sun. 

Caring for a Burn at Home

  • If your child gets burned, immediately put cold water on the burned area for 10 minutes.
    • After the burn has cooled off, wash the area gently with warm water.
    • Then cover the burn loosely with a dry non-stick bandage or clean cloth.
  • If the burn is from a chemical, flush the chemical off of the skin for 10 minutes.
  • For persistent pain, give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
    • If pain continues, put a cold wet washcloth on the burn as needed.

What to Expect as Burns are Healing

  • Burns usually hurt for 2-3 days.
  • Many burns peel about a week after the burn.
    • The skin should look normal after 2 weeks.
  • Larger burns may turn into blisters.
    • Blisters usually rupture within 7 days. 
    • These burns take 2-3 weeks to heal. 
    • The skin coloring in the burned area may take 6-12 months to return to normal.


Closed Blisters
  • Leave intact blisters alone and do not open them. 
    • `The outer skin protects the burn from infection and reduces pain. 
  • They will dry up and peel off naturally in a week or so.
    • The skin should look normal after 2 weeks.

Open Blisters
  • Remove the dead blister skin, as these pockets can become a breeding ground for infection.
  • Try to gently wipe away the thin layer of blistered skin with a wet gauze or wet washcloth.
    • If you are unsuccessful, trim the dead skin off with fine scissors that have been sanitized with rubbing alcohol. 
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage.
  • Change the dressing daily or as it becomes wet or soiled.