First Aid

Correct burn first aid will:

  • Reduce the severity of a burn
  • Reduce pain from a burn
  • Reduce the amount of medical treatment needed for a burn
  • Reduce the amount of time it takes for a burn to heal
  • Cool the burn and halt the burning process to the skin

Burn first aid is simple!


Run lots of COOL running water over the burn


CALL for medical help. 999 or NHS Direct (111 or 0845 4647 in Wales)


COVER the burn with loose strips of clingfilm or clean non-fluffy material to stop it getting infected


Remove clothing and jewellery

  • Clothing can hold hot liquid next to the skin.
  • Metal jewellery holds in heat and can cause problems if the burn swells.

Cool with water

  • Running water from the cold tap or shower is best.
  • Keep the rest of the child warm.
  • Cool the burn immediately after it happens.
  • Cooling can still help up to 3 hours after a burn has happened.


  • Call for medical advice for a serious burn.
  • Call if the burn is on the face, hands, feet, joints or nappy area.
  • Call if the burn is larger than a 10 pence coin.
  • Call 111 (NHS direct) or 999 if immediate medical attention for a serious burn is needed.
  • For a less serious burn seek advice from Emergency Department/Accident and Emergency, GP or pharmacist.


  • Cover the burn with loose strips of cling film.
  • DO NOT wrap tightly with cling film (because the burn may become swollen).
  • Covering the burn helps to prevent infection and loss of fluid.
  • Clear cling film will help the doctor to see how serious the burn is, if the child needs to attend hospital.
  • Covering the burn reduces pain as it protects any damage nerves that are exposed.

Don’t put these on a burn!

DO NOT put honey, butter, cream, ice, toothpaste etc. on the burn as these can cause further damage

This advice follows the recommendations of the British Burn Association, developed from medical research.

First aid is essential for any burn but prevention of hot drink burns is better than the cure …take the SafeTea Pledge