Burns and cuts in children? Some first aid advice

If you have kids you’ll know well enough that sooner or later everyone falls, skins a knee or gets a small burn. With children, accidents happen almost every day. Your mantra in these cases should be “don’t panic”: fortunately, you need to worry only in rare situations. The first minutes after the event, however, can be decisive: here are some tips for you to act immediately in the best possible way.

Running water and a plaster for small wounds

Has your child fallen and cut herself? Remember that small wounds, including scrapes, must be washed thoroughly under abundant running water: this is essential to remove any residual dust. Then, disinfect the wound with an antiseptic and cover the cut with gauze and/or a plaster.

Press on a bleeding wound with a cloth

If your child’s wound is bleeding a lot, first of all do not be frightened: all you have to do is press on the cut with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. You may need to perform this manoeuvre for up to 10 minutes before a blood clot can form. If after this time the wound continues to bleed profusely and the cut is extensive and deep, don’t wait any longer: go to the nearest hospital, while continuing to constantly put pressure on the wound with the cloth.

See your doctor for glass or puncture wounds

Puncture or glass injuries can be deep and, at worst, hide tendon injuries and tiny shards of glass trapped under the skin. In these cases, it is always advisable to consult with your paediatrician, rather than trying to figure it our on your own with a magnifying glass: your doctor can suggest what to do!

For minor burns, cold water and clothes off

If your child accidentally touches the iron, for example, place the burned area under cool running water as soon as possible, until the pain subsides. This typically takes at least 15 minutes. If the burned area is covered with clothes, immediately moisten the clothes with cold water and then remove them gently, using scissors if necessary. If the burn is large and you see fluid oozing from the skin, consult your paediatrician; in the worst case possible, if the burn shows extensive and deep skin damage, do not hesitate to go to the hospital.

Cover the burn with sterile gauze

If no liquid is oozing from your child’s burned skin, it’s definitely a good sign: you can cover the affected area with some wet sterile gauze or, if you don’t have any, a clean, dry cloth. If, on the contrary, you still see liquid leaking from the burn, gently cover it again with sterile gauze and contact your paediatrician.

Don’t burst blisters

It may not look pretty, but if a blister – a bubble full of clear liquid – appears on your child’s burn, resist the urge to pop it. Let it go down on its own, then wash it with running water and soap or saline. Any residual tissue from the blister can be removed, while the wound should be disinfected with an antiseptic and protected with sterile gauze.

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