Young children are at risk of burns, especially as they have sensitive skin, and can be prone to accidents around the home. Minor burns don’t always need medical treatment, but more serious burns need immediate medical care in order to reduce the damage to both the skin and tissue underneath. Burns are categorized according to the extent to which the skin is damaged:

  • First-degree burns
    These are the mildest of all burns and affect only the top layer of the skin. Some common symptoms include redness, swelling and pain. These burns usually take around six days to heal, and sometimes a layer of skin will peel off after a few days as the burn heals.

  • Second-degree burns
    These burns are more severe and can affect the layers below the top layer of skin. They cause considerable pain and blisters that can break open to reveal a sensitive wound. These burns can take up to three weeks to heal.

  • Third-degree burns
    These burns are the most severe, and cause damage to all layers of the skin, as well as the tissue underneath. Third-degree burns can also cause nerve damage and cause the skin to become discoloured and disfigured. Healing time varies on how severe the burn is, but most cases will require skin grafting to help the burn wound heal.

If you think your child has a second or third-degree burn, it is important that you seek medical help immediately. Also, if your child has any burn injury that is larger than 10 percent of their body size, or involves a sensitive area like the face, genitals, hands, feet or scalp, see your doctor as quickly as possible.


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