First aid for a burn

Download our first aid for a burn colouring sheet

First aid for a burn


We all know that as little ones explore their surroundings, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, even if we have done everything we can to prevent them. 

One injury that is particularly common in babies and children is burns. Little ones are naturally inquisitive, and their sensitive skin means burns can affect them more seriously than adults. Even something as simple as a hot drink left unattended can be a significant risk to a child – in fact hot drinks are the number one cause of scalds to the under-fives (RoSPA).

While it’s often more manageable to prevent burns in a childcare setting than in the home, it’s still essential to know how to act quickly should a little one in your care ever have one. You could share this advice with parents, too. Here’s how to help:

How to help if a child has a burn

    1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least 20 minutes.

    Cooling the burn will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring. The sooner and longer a burn is cooled with cold running water, the less the impact of the injury.

    2. After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.

    This helps prevent infection by keeping the area clean. Cling film or plastic won’t stick to the burn and will reduce pain by keeping air from the skin’s surface.  

    3. Call 999 if necessary.
    Call 999 or get someone else to do it while you continue to cool the burn. 
You should always seek medical advice – or advise parents or carers to do so - for a baby or child who has been burned. 

Learn more:

Help children learn too

You can also help children in your care learn how to help if they, a friend, or a family member ever has a burn. Our free, downloadable colouring-in poster, ideal for children aged between 5 and 12, is a fun way for children to learn a simple first aid skill. 

Download the poster here: 

The information in this article is provided by British Red Cross and does not represent Morton Michel.