First Aid for Your Baby's Accidents

Burns and Scalds

A hot iron, a steaming cup of coffee -- these are among the many things you never used to worry about in your life B.C. (before child). But now that you've got a curious crawler or new walker in the house, you need to prepare for a potential burn emergency.

Home Care

Only first-degree burns should be treated at home, says Jessica Cooper Foltin, MD, director of the Pediatric Emergency and Transport Program at NYU Medical Center. A first-degree burn affects the outer layer of skin, causing redness but no blistering.

To treat, run cool water over the area for several minutes, which will lower the skin temperature. Avoid icy-cold water, which will feel uncomfortable and may even decrease the flow of blood to the skin, says Dr. Foltin. Apply an aloe vera cream to ease pain, and cover the area with a damp gauze pad. Don't apply ice, butter, or other home remedies, which can actually increase the size of the burn.

Call the Doctor If...

Your child has blistering burns (they're second-degree burns, which affect the outer and underlying layer of skin); the burn covers a large area but is not blistered; or the burn is on the face, hands, feet, or genitals.

Call 911 If...

Your child is not breathing, has suffered a serious burn such as an electrical burn, has a blistering burn over a large area, or needs immediate medical attention.


Never place hot food or drinks near the edge of a counter or table or on a tablecloth because kids can yank on it. Keep your water heater set at or below 120 degrees F. to prevent scalding. Don't leave hot irons or hair appliances unattended or within reach of little hands.

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