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Child Scald Burns: Risks & Treatment


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10/12/2017
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A scald is a burn caused by hot water, boiling water, or steam. Unfortunately, children are often the victims of scalds. According to the Mayo Clinic, scalding liquids are the number one cause of burns to children. Get free tips on how to prevent burns to your kids.

What Are Common Causes of Child Scald Burns?

Many scalds that children suffer happen in the bathtub. You can prevent these burns by checking the water temperature with your hand or elbow before putting your child in the tub. Another way to prevent scald burns is to turn down the temperature on your water heater.

Children also suffer scald injuries from pulling pots off of the stove top, spilling boiling water on themselves. Avoid this tragedy by taking a few prudent steps:

  • Never leave the stove area when you are cooking on the stove top.
  • Use back burners instead of front burners whenever possible.
  • Make the stove area off-limits for your child, not allowing the child within six feet of the stove.
  • Never leave pot handles or panhandles sticking out from over the edge of the stovetop, where a child could reach up and grab it.

What Are the First Steps to Take for a Scald Burn?

It is imperative to immediately remove the body part from the source of the burn. For example, if the scald is happening in the bathtub, immediately remove your child from the tub. The longer he sits in the tub, the worse the scald injury will be. Cool the scald by immediately placing it under cool (not cold), clean running water for 10 to 15 minutes. Cooling the scald this way will stop the burning process, limiting the damage.

What Are the Treatments for a Severe Scald Burn?

The type of treatments will depend on whether your child has a first, second, or third-degree burn injury. If your child has a significant scald, she will need immediate professional medical care at an emergency room or burn center. Call 9-1-1 in this situation.

Scald injuries may cover a large area of the body. Your child can quickly go into shock. Keep her warm with a clean blanket or clothing, but do not let the blanket or clothing touch the injured area. Remove jewelry or clothing near the injury unless stuck to the scalded area, in case your child develops swelling.

The treatment team at the emergency room or burn center will determine the appropriate treatments for your child’s injury. They may use skin grafts if the skin is too severely damaged to regenerate and grow healthy new skin. The doctor will surgically place healthy human tissue, synthetic tissue, or semisynthetic tissue on top of the damaged tissue.

Surgery may be necessary after a severe scald injury to make scars less noticeable, to make scar tissue more flexible, to increase the range of motion and increase flexibility, or to release adhesions and contractures.

How Can I Tell How Severe My Child's Scald Injury Is?

If your child has a large scald burn, you should consider it serious, and get immediate medical attention. If the burn has blisters or develops blisters within a day or two, it is not a first-degree burn. If the burn is deeper than the outermost layer of skin or looks worse than a sunburn, it is at least a second-degree burn. You should only try to treat small, first-degree burns at home. All other burns should receive immediate treatment at an emergency room or burn center. For any severe scald, immediately call 9-1-1.

What Should I Not Do for My Child's Scald Burn?

Even if the injury is only a small, superficial burn, never apply ice, ice water, butter, oil, or anything frozen. Only allow things that are sterile to touch the surface of the injury. Do not use the dangerous home remedies of raw meat, meat tenderizer, frozen food, or vinegar to the burn as they can make it worse and cause infection. If at any time you see signs of infection, get immediate medical attention. An infected burn can quickly lead to sepsis, which can cause organ failure or death.

If your child suffered a scald injury, contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC to learn who may be liable for your child's damages. Our team will explain how filing a personal injury claim can provide the compensation your child needs to cover medical bills and long-term financial, physical, and emotional damages. Call 404-474-0804 today.



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