Injury Definition

  1. A burn is a thermal (heat) injury to the skin. Burns are classified as:
  2. 1st degree - reddened skin without blisters (doesn't need to be seen)
  3. 2nd degree - reddened skin with blisters (takes 2 to 3 weeks to heal)
  4. 3rd degree - deep burns with white or charred skin. Skin sensation is absent. Usually needs a skin graft to prevent bad scarring if it is larger than a quarter (1 inch) in size.

See More Appropriate Topic if


First Aid for Thermal Burns

  1. Immediately (don't take time to remove clothing) put the burned part in cold tap water or pour cold water over it for 10 minutes. (Reason: lessen the depth of the burn and relieve pain)

First Aid for Chemical Burns

  1. Remove any contaminated clothing
  2. Flush the chemical off the skin with warm water for 10 minutes. For large areas, use a shower

Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) if

  1. Large 2nd or 3rd degree burn
  2. Difficulty breathing with burn to the face

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  1. You think your child has a serious burn
  2. Large blister is present
  3. Eye or eyelid burn
  4. Center of the burn is white or charred
  5. Electrical current burn
  6. Explosion or gun powder caused the burn
  7. Acid or alkali burn (First aid: flush with tap water for 10 minutes)
  8. Chemical on skin that causes a blister (First aid: flush with tap water for 10 minutes)
  9. House fire burn
  10. Burn looks infected

Call Your Doctor within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  1. You think your child needs to be seen

Call Your Doctor during Weekday Office Hours If

  1. You have other questions or concerns

Parent Care at Home if

  1. Mild thermal or chemical burn and you don't think your child needs to be seen

Home Care Advice for 1st Degree Burns or Small Blisters

  1. Pain Medicine: For pain, apply cold compresses and take acetaminophen every 4 hours or ibuprofen every 6 hours.
  2. Cleansing: Wash the area gently with an antibacterial liquid soap and water once a day.
  3. Blisters: Don't open any small closed blisters - the outer skin protects the burn from infection.
  4. Expected Course: It will probably hurt for 2 days and peel like a sunburn in about a week. Fortunately, first- and second-degree burns don't leave scars.
  5. Call Your Doctor If
  • Severe pain persists > 2 hours after giving pain medicine.
  • Burn starts to look infected (pus, red streaks, increased tenderness)
  • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your Doctor Now" symptoms