Taking action quickly can stop long term scarring and stop the burn or scald from getting worse. So it is important that parents and carers, and professionals working with families, know what to do:

  • Cool the burn or scald straight away with running cold tap water for 20 minutes.

  • Remove any clothing or jewellery. Do not remove anything that has melted onto the skin or is firmly stuck to the wound.

  • Call for help - 999, 111 or your local GP for advice.

  • If it still hurts, cool the scald again under cold water

  • Don’t touch the burn or burst any blisters as this can cause infection

  • Loosely cover the burn with cling film (not if the burn is on the head or face) or clean, non-fluffy material to prevent infection. Make sure the covering is loose as burns can swell

  • Make sure you keep the child warm. 

Q: Should you immediately remove any clothing the child is wearing?

A: If clothing covers the scalded area, cool the scald first, including the clothing, because heat is retained in the material

Q: What is the best way to cool a large scald?

A: It may be easier to cool the scald under a gently running shower or in the bath. Be careful not to let the child become too cold as this could lead to hypothermia

Q: What should I never do?

  • Never leave the scald without any kind of first aid treatment

  • Never cover the scald with butter, toothpaste, flour or ice

  • Never touch or burst a blister as this can lead to infection.