Your child has a burn.  Burns occur when the skin is injured by contact with heat, fire, chemicals, or electricity.  Minor burns (first degree) cause redness to the skin.  Deeper burns (second degree) cause blistering.  Serious burns (third degree) cause damage to the full thickness of the skin.  The goal of burn treatment is to prevent infection and protect the damaged skin.




1.      Keep the burned area elevated for the next 2 to 3 days.

2.      Burns are very painful.  Keeping the burned area covered with a clean dressing often takes care of most of the pain.  Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain not relieved by covering the skin.

3.      Change dressings twice a day.

·        Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

·        Remove the old bandage.  If it sticks, soak it in warm water for a few minutes.

·        Wash the burn with warm, soapy water.

·        Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel.

·        Apply antibiotic ointment to the burned area in a thin layer.

·        Carefully rewrap the burn with a sterile bandage.


Call your child’s doctor or return to the Emergency Department if:


1.      Increased redness or red streaks develop around the burn.

2.      Your child has increased swelling or pain not relieved by elevation or medication.

3.      The wound develops pus, discharge, or a foul-smelling odor.

4.      Your child develops a fever.

5.      You have any other questions or concerns.