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Winter first aid tips to treat burns from heaters and fires


With the arrival of cold days and nights, heaters are pulled from cupboards, fires are lit and steaming hot soups and drinks warm us up from the inside.

Monday June 5, 2017

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Teaching children to be wary around heaters and fires is important but if the worst should happen a few simple first aid steps are handy to know.

It's easy enough for a child to fall on a heater and burn themselves, or for their curiosity around a gas or wood fire flame to catch you unaware.

Here are three easy steps you can do to lessen the injury and be confident during a first aid emergency.

STEP 1: 20mins under cool running water

Don't panic, reassure the child and run cool running water over the burn for at least 20 minutes. Cooling the burn will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring. The sooner, and longer, running water is applied to a burn, the less damage the burn will do.

STEP 2: Cover a severe burn

If the burn requires further medical care, loosely cover the burn with plastic wrap or a clean plastic bag. This keeps the burn clean and helps prevent infection. Plastic wrap is ideal because it doesn't stick to the burn. It may even reduce the pain because it keeps air from the skin's surface. Don't use a fabric bandage. These bandages will stick to the skin and may cause further damage when peeled away. If the burn is clean and the skin's surface has not broken or looks like it will blister, a covering is not needed.

STEP 3: When to phone 000

Always phone 000 if a child has been burned, the burn blisters, affects more than one area of the body, covers hands, feet, joints or face or if underlying tissue is visible. If clothes are stuck to the burn, don't try and remove them. Do remove any jewellery or clothing that's not stuck to the burn while running the burned area under cool water. Taking quick, decisive action can make all the difference in a family first aid emergency.

Australian Red Cross offers a First Aid for Babies and Children course designed to teach parents and carers the essential skills and knowledge to confidently respond to a family first aid emergency. 

Book your Australian Red Cross First Aid course today