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Burns can be prevented by keeping children away from all hot surfaces including, fires, cooking stoves, hot liquids and foods, and exposed electric wires.

Burning and scalding are among the most common causes of serious injury among young children. Burns often cause permanent scarring, and some are fatal. The great majority of these are preventable.

One of the most common types of burns is from direct contact with fires or flames or touching hot surfaces. To prevent this kind of burn:

  • keep young children away from cooking fires, matches, paraffin lamps candles and flammable liquids such as paraffin and kerosene

  • put stoves on a flat, raised surface out of the reach of children

  • if an open cooking fire is used, make it on a raised mound of clay,  not directly on the ground. A barrier of mud, bamboo or other material or a playpen can also be used to keep young children out of reach of  the cooking place.

  • do not leave small children alone near fires or to tend fires or cook

  • keep children away from heaters, hot irons and other hot appliances

  • never leave a child alone in a room with a candle or fire burning.even if you think they are sleeping.


Another major cause of burns is scalding from hot liquids or foods. To prevent scalds:

  • turn the handles of all cooking pots away from the reach of children

  • keep hot foods and liquids in a safe place and out of children’s reach

  • do not let children turn on the hot water tap in a bath or shower by themselves

  • teach children not to play rough around people with hot drinks or in the kitchen when meals are being prepared

  • never hold a child when having hot liquids or foods.  Children can get a serious shock or burn if they come in contact with electricity. To prevent shocks and burns:

  • teach children never to put their fingers or other objects into electric sockets

  • cover power sockets to prevent access

  • keep electric wires out of children’s reach

  • cover bare electric wires, which are particularly dangerous, using insulating tape.

First Aid For Burns

For minor burns, the following steps can be taken:

  • If the child's clothing catches fire, quickly wrap the child in a blanket or clothing or roll him or her on the ground to put out the fire.

  • Cool the burned area immediately. Use plenty of cold, clean water, which helps to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Do not put ice on the burn; this can further damage the skin.

  • Keep the burn clean and dry with a loose sterile gauze bandage or clean cloth. This will protect blistered skin.

  • Do not break blisters, as they protect the injured area. If a blister is broken, the area is more susceptible to infection.

  • Do not apply butter or ointments to the burn; they can prevent proper healing.

  • A minor burn will usually heal without further treatment.


For major burns that burn all layers of skin, emergency care is needed immediately. Until it is available, the following steps can be taken:

  • Do not remove the burned clothing from the body. Make sure the child is no longer near any burning or smouldering materials or exposed to smoke or heat.

  • Do not immerse large, serious burns in cold water, as this could cause shock.

  • Raise the burned body part or parts above heart level, if possible.

  • Loosely cover the burn area with cool, moist towels or cloths or a sterile bandage.

  • If the child is unconscious, keep him or her warm. Roll the child onto his or her side so that the tongue does not block breathing.

  • Check for signs of breathing, movement and coughing. If there are no signs, follow the steps under ‘First aid for breathing problems or drowning’.

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