Be alert to risk of burns and scalds - and how to treat them

Mon 15 Oct, 2018

Girl pulling pan of cooking off hob

Firefighters are supporting National Burn Awareness Day, which takes place on Wednesday (17 October), and urging people to be alert to potential scald, burn and fire risks to children.

They also want to pass on important safety tips which can help minimise injuries, and to share this specially-made burn prevention video on Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's YouTube channel..

Last year in the UK more than 15,000 people - 7,502 children and 8,168 adults - were burned or scalded. The figure relates only to the most serious burns and scalds and does not include the thousands seen by A&E departments.

Group Commander Phill Mould from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: “It’s important that adults are aware of the potential hazards in their homes.

"These include hot drinks, kettles and pans within reach of small hands, unguarded fires and heaters, high-temperature bath water and items such as irons and hair straighteners.

"It's also important to know what to do in the event of someone suffering a burn a scald. Doing the right thing can really help the healing process."

Phill offered these safety tips:

  • - Keep things that can cause fire – candles, matches and lighters – or are hot – kettles, pans, hot drinks, irons and hair straighteners – out of children’s reach.

  • - Make sure children don’t play near fires or heaters.

  • - Use the back hobs on the stove and make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out to avoid them being knocked off

  • - Never leave children unattended in the kitchen.

  • - Fit a childproof guard in front of open fires or heaters – the best ones can be fixed to the wall.

  • - Remember, clothing will always burn if in contact with naked flames – but some much faster than others.

  • - Don’t put a baby or child into a bath or sink until the water has been tested. Run cold water first before adding hot water, then test the temperature.  

  • - Install thermostatic mixing valves in all hot water outlets.

  • Store chemicals, cleaners and acids out of reach.

First things to do if someone suffers a burn – cool, call and cover

  • - 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).

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

  • - Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm.

First things to do if your clothes are on fire – stop, drop and roll

  • - Stop - don’t run around, you’ll make the flames worse

  • - Drop - lie down and roll around. It makes it harder for the fire to spread

  • - Roll - smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat or blanket

National Burn Awareness Day is organised by the Children’s Burns Trust (, a national charity which:

  • - Works with others to raise the awareness of burns and scalds, including prevention campaigns. 

  • - Works with NHS professionals to provide direct help and funding for rehabilitation.

  • - Gives direct financial support to families and hospitals and provides advice and access to burns-related information.