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. Call. Cover.

  1. Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound).
  2. Call for help for any burn larger than a 50p coin: 999, 111 or your local GP for advice.
  3. Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the child is kept 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.