There’s so many things in our homes that can burn children. The iron, stovetop, hot water, grill and more are things that can burn our children and no matter how much we watch, freak accidents happen. Two weeks ago my 4 year old pulled the coffee pot down on top of herself and suffered large second degree burns. I had never experienced a large burn and honestly I did not know what to do when a child burns themselves or how to treat serious burns in kids.
I’m not a doctor or a nurse and I’ve never played one on TV. I don’t know medically what to do right, I just know what we did and what the Dr. later told me what to do. I hope it will help one of you one day if you ever have to go through a similar experience.
First, I would not mess around with a burn or play the game of “should we or should we not go to the doctor”. Burns are painful and easily infected. I knew as soon as I pulled off her shirt and saw the extent of the burn that we were going to the ER.
What I did not know and the ER Doctor told me is that if I would have called them before we came he would have told me to put her in a cold shower. You need to cool down the burned skin and body. Don’t apply ice or any other salve such as butter just put cool water on the burn.
Our little one was in severe pain and I did not give her tylenol before we left the house because I was in panic mode. Looking back now I wish I would have given her a dose of tylenol or ibuprofen because even though they gave her morphine by the time we got her there and an IV in her arm she had already been in severe pain for a long time. Tylenol could have probably started taking off that edge.
Buy an extra wall charger for your phone and put it in your glove box. No this does not deal with burns but with being prepared. I thought my phone had been charging the entire night but truthfully the plug was not all the way into the wall. Shortly after we got there my phone died and it was hard to communicate with my husband during that time. Yes I could use the phone there to call but it meant that I had to get up and walk away from our daughter which she did not like.
Go with your gut. Something in my gut when they were releasing us from the ER told me to ask for antibiotics after they gave us a long lecture about how easily burns get infected. I didn’t do it though because I didn’t want to be silly. Two days later we took her to her pediatrician to get the burn checked out again and she was running a fever, a possible sign of infection. They put her on antibiotics right then and there. It turns out that her fever was more of a side effect of the burn but the guilt I was already dealing with wasn’t helped by the threat of infection.
For the Aftercare:
Make sure they give you a very large jar of the silvedine cream at the pharmacy. This is a cream that you liberally cover a severe burn with before bandaging it. The ER doctor originally wrote a prescription for a very small jar that would not have covered the healing time. Our family doctor wrote a prescription for a large jar to get us all the way through the healing time but our health insurance would only cover one jar so we had to pay out of pocket for the large jar and it is not cheap.
Buy bandaging material in bulk from amazon or a medical supply store. The burn on our daughter’s chest was the size of an adult’s hand and it has has to be covered for at least 4 weeks. The supplies to keep it covered are expensive but going to the medical supply store and buying a bulk amount helped cut the bill and we have used almost all of it. Whatever is left over can go into our emergency kit.
To keep from having to stick the bandages to the skin with tape, which hurts kids and and will make their skin raw after a few days we found the self sticking wrap that sticks to itself. Some of it worked really well and other brands didn’t work well at all. We just bought a few different ones to try and then bought the one we liked in bulk. We also found colored self stick medical wrap at Target, which was a huge hit with the little one. To keep her torso covered one roll of self sticking wrap (about $3.50 a roll) lasted two days. Since her arm also had to be wrapped at one point we were spending about $4 a day on bandaging. (yes we tried an ace bandage and she hated it.) Her arm healed very quickly and she no longer has to keep it wrapped which has cut our costs down but her stomach still has to be wrapped. Keeping it covered and wrapped well will greatly reduce the chance of infection so the cost is worth it! Don’t skimp but make smart choices in buying it.
Stock up on candy. I know all parents tell you not to bribe your children but changing the bandages on a fresh burn hurts and it was rough on her and us as the parents that had to do it. Our Dr. advised us to give pain reliever 40 minutes before changing the dressings which helped a lot. We also kept her stomach stocked with chocolate while changing the bandages. We probably won’t win an award for parenting but it got us through it for that 24 hours until we had to do it again.
For the Parent aftercare:
Don’t beat yourself up. Accidents happen. I’m still repeating this to myself everytime I see the burns but it was an accident. We can’t be with our children around the clock. They have to be able to walk through our house without an escort, it’s how they learn. Accidents that happen also help us learn. We learn to be prepared and we learn that our kids are such amazing strong creatures.