Little girl reaches for a pan on a hobEvery year thousands of children with burns have to go to hospital. It’s an incredibly common injury – especially for under-fives. That’s why all parents and carers need to know how to help a a baby or child who a has a burn.

If you’ve ever spilt a hot drink over yourself, you’ll know it can make you jump or yelp. Chances are a small spill won’t leave you badly hurt.

But babies and children have much more sensitive skin than you or I. So if they tip a hot drink over, it can be much more serious.  That’s why it’s important to know how to treat a burn or scald.

Why is it a very common injury?

Every week in the UK, over 100 children are admitted to A&E with burns.

Parents and carers are very safety conscious and will do their best to keep dangerous items out of reach of children. So why are burn injuries so common in babies and toddlers?

Well, as babies reach nine months old they start to move about more independently. They begin to explore their surroundings, grabbing everything in sight to learn more about the world around them.

The main culprits

Here in Britain we love a good cup of tea. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that hot drinks are the biggest cause of burns in infants and toddlers.

As toddlers grow, they can reach further. The table, which was out of reach yesterday, is suddenly within grasp. All those lovely objects – including half-drunk cups of tea – are fair game for grabbing and swiping.

Many everyday household items are hot to touch and can burn children badly. Here are some of the main culprits…

Little girl reaches towards a hot ironIrons

Dangling cords and climbing frames – hot irons inevitably attract the attention of little explorers.

Hair straighteners
Hair straighteners

Everyone knows to keep hair straighteners away from children when you’re using them.

But what you might not realise is that even minutes after you’ve turned them off, they remain incredibly hot – over 80°C. They can cause serious burns to little hands keen to copy mummy’s styling routine.

Little boy reaches for a pan on a hob
Oven hobs

Older toddlers can be keen to help out and copy what they’ve seen in the kitchen. But when they try to stir pans and bake cakes they can get burnt.

Don’t panic – you can help

A baby knocks over a hot drink

If your baby or child does burn themselves, there are three simple things you can do to help them.

1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.

A father holds his baby's burnt arm under a cold running tap for ten minutes

2. After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.

Bbay with a burnt arm has cling film applied to the burn

3. Call 999 if necessary and always seek medical advice if a baby or child has been burned.

Watch rapping toddlers give burns advice

Act fast

Joe Mulligan, head of first aid education at the Red Cross said: “When a baby or child is burned, fast action by those nearby will have a massive impact.

“Stay calm and get the burned area under cold running water as quickly as possible. Keep it there for at least ten minutes.

“You’ll be reducing the amount of pain your child is in as well as minimising swelling and the risk of long-term scarring.”

Keep your family safe