Every year almost 1000 children in NSW under the age of five present to hospital with severe burn injuries. More than half of these burns occur in the kitchen, while most other burns occur in other places inside the home, the backyard, and places of sport and recreation (Australian Burns Injury Service ACI, 2017).
Common causes of burns in children include hot food and drinks, kitchen appliances, heaters, irons, treadmills and barbeques. Spilled hot soup, noodles, tea and coffee can take less than a second to cause a serious burn.
The most common types of burns are scalds, contact burns, flame and friction burns.
Children’s skin burns deeper, quicker and at lower temperatures compared to adults. Burns can cause lifelong problems for many children. Families suffer guilt and blame, while children usually suffer with pain and scarring that leads to body image and self-esteem problems.
Note: Using cool water for 20 minutes is effective within 3 hours of the burn incident.
Click HERE to complete a FREE online e-learning module to give you knowledge on how to perform correct first aid for common types of burns including scalds, flame, friction, electrical and chemical burns.
For detailed information on how to prevent common burns in children, please refer to our Related Fact sheets on the side menu of this page.
For information and posters developed for schools aimed at preventing burn injuries in the school environment, please visit the burns resources for schools page.
Kids Health coordinated a pilot burns and scalds prevention project with Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services in the Blacktown LGA for children under the age of five with a specific focus on the kitchen. The final report (May 2016) on this project is available in the downloads section below.
A brochure, poster and first aid for burns magnet is available in the downloads section below and free printed copies can be ordered through our online order form.
In 2018, Kids Health is coordinating a second pilot of the Learn to Stop Burns and Scalds in the Kitchen project with ECEC services in the Cumberland LGA and Central Coast LGA. There is potential for expansion of the project across NSW after evaluation of this pilot is completed.
The Learn to Stop Burns! Program involves an interactive burns prevention game aimed at primary school aged children. It has been produced by Kids Health in collaboration with the Burns Unit at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Kidsafe NSW and the NSW Severe Burn Injury Service.
The game allows entry to a virtual home where each room can be navigated to search for the potential burn dangers in everyday life. When the user clicks on the animations in the bathroom, kitchen, lounge room and backyard, they are given information on how to prevent this burn from happening. There is a quiz at the end to test the users knowledge! This game can be completed by children themselves or as a class facilitated by their teacher.
Click here to play Learn to Stop Burns! Online.
Click here to order a copy of the Learn to Stop Burns! Program on CD.
A teaching resource was developed to complement the Learn to Stop Burns! program, containing suggested teaching and learning activities. The activities allow students to work towards achieving the Stage Two and Stage Three outcomes in the Safe Living category of the K-6 Syllabus Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE).
In 2008, Kids Health piloted the program with 89 students in NSW (aged between 8-12 years), and found an 18% increase in burns prevention knowledge. Teachers reported that it was "a great unit" and the "interactive nature of the program was excellent. Plenty of suggested support resources for teachers which provided background knowledge before teaching." This pilot was kindly funded by the Greater Metropolitan Clinical Taskforce (GMCT).
The Learn to Stop Burns! Teachers Resource is available in the downloads section below.
Click here to order a copy of Learn to Stop Burns! on CD.