Burns are painful injuries to the skin tissue which is usually caused by electricity, chemicals, heat, or radiation. Severe surface burns may go through the skin and into deeper body structures, such as muscle, fat, or bone. A burn injury is one of the most painful injuries that anyone can experience. Based on the studies conducted by the National Institute of Health, more than two million Americans require treatment for burns annually, and around 3,000 people die of severe burns.
Infants and young children are more susceptible to this type of injury. Their curious nature and sensitive skin makes them vulnerable to burns. Burns, especially scalds from hot liquids, are among the most common childhood accidents and injuries.
Common Causes Of Burn Injuries
The first step to preventing burns in children is to know the common causes of burns. Listed below are the common causes of burn injuries according to the American Burn Association.
Contact With Fire, Flame, Or Hot Objects: 46% of reported burn injuries in the country are caused by fire or flame. Young children suffer from burn injuries if they play with fire or if they put their hand on hot objects, such as the fireplace or stove.
Scalds: This is the number one culprit for most burns in children. 32% of burn patients incurred the injury from steam, spilled coffee, hot foods, hot bath water, or cooking fluids.
Thermal Burns: This type of injury happens when the patient came in contact with hot objects, such as ovens or irons.
Defective Household Products: In some cases, burn injuries are the result of a defective household product. in California, the patient can go after the manufacturer or seller and claim compensation for their injuries. However, the patient needs to prove that the defective product was the cause of fire which resulted in burns.
Chemical Burns: This type of injury make up 3% of the total bun injury cases in the United States. This occurs when the person accidentally swallows a chemical product, such as drain cleaner, or if he spills chemicals onto his skin.
Types Of Burns
First-Degree Burns: This is the mildest out of the three types of burns because it is limited to the top layer of the skin. The common symptoms include redness, minor pain and swelling. The skin will become dry without blisters.
Second-Degree Burns: This type of burn injury is more serious because the surface burn penetrated through the top layer of the skin. The symptoms of second-degree burns include blisters, redness, and severe pain. The blisters could pop which will make the burn area look wet and bring pink.
Third-Degree Burns: This is the most serious type of burn because it involves all the layers of the skin as well as the underlying tissue or muscle. The symptoms of third-degree burn include dry skin surface which looks like waxy white, brown, or charred. The area may initially feel numb because the nerves in the affected area are damaged.
First Aid Treatment For Burns In Children
- Soak the burn in cool water. Keep the injured area in the water for at least 5-15 minutes. Do not place ice over the injured area.
- Remove burned clothing. If the burned clothing sticks to your child’s skin, do not peel it away forcefully as this may result to more serious injuries. What you should do is leave it in place and cut the clothing around it.
- Cover the burn with a non-stick gauze or a clean cloth. If your child only suffered a first-degree burn, you can put an antibiotic ointment to relieve pain and avoid infection. If there are blisters, do not pop them.
- Minimize pain by allowing your child to take an over-the-counter pain reliever for children. You can give your child ibuprofen. It is recommended to contact your child’s pediatrician if he has not taken any pain reliever medicine in the past.
Seek emergency treatment if your child has a second- or third-degree burn. You should also consult the doctor if you notice that the burn is infected. The signs you should look for are swelling, pus, red streaking on your child’s skin near the affected area.
Kris Lim has written articles covering health and wellness for online publishing. In this article, she discusses the common causes of burn injuries in children, and she also offers first aid treatment for burns.