Burns can happen in the blink of an eye

Eleven-month-old Solomon and his family know all too well just how quickly a burn can happen after a morning spent baking ended in tragedy. 

Solomon’s mum, Tianda, was making a cheesecake and had opened the oven door. In the seconds it took her to grab the cheesecake from the bench, Solomon had placed his hands on the oven door. His harrowing scream is one Tianda will never forget.

“My mother and three children were also in the room at the time and no one saw it happen. These things can happen within the blink of an eye,” Tianda said.

Solomon suffered severe burns to his hands but thanks to his quick thinking mum, received the correct first aid straight away, significantly helping his recovery.

“I’m grateful I was able to stay calm enough to quickly run his hands under cool running water, which doctors tell me helped with his recovery and reduced the severity of the burn.”

In 2021, 688 children were treated at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick for burns caused by hot food and drinks and items such as kitchen appliances and heaters.

Dr Torey Lawrence, Head of the Burns Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, says burns can happen in an instant - with most occurring when a child is copying adult behaviour.

“A burn injury is quick and often devastating, unfortunately we see children of all ages rushed to emergency after spilling hot food on themselves or touching kitchen appliances or heaters,” said Dr Lawrence.

“Aside from closely supervising children, simple measures like keeping hot items out of reach of children, making sure they eat hot noodles seated at a table rather than on their lap, and placing heat resistant guards around heaters can make all the difference.”  

Cool running water is the only proven effective treatment for a burn. Dr Torey Lawrence says applying the correct first-aid as soon as possible, like Tianda did, is vital.

If your child has suffered a burn:

  • Use cool running water on the burn for 20 minutes. Remove clothing and jewellery, if possible.
  • Call 000 or seek medical help if you are unsure.
  • Never use ice, cream, gel, toothpaste or butter on a burn as they can make it worse.

Running cold water on the burn for 20 minutes at any time within three hours can reduce the thickness of the burn as well as the time a burn will take to heal.  

For more information on burns prevention, visit the Kids Health website at www.kidshealth.org.au/burns-prevention