It is important to inform both the child and the guardian about the proper care for a burn wound.

Children are prone to touch things that are too hot or forget to wear sunscreen during long hot vacations, both of which can lead to serious first and second degree burns. Because a healing burn wound can be very uncomfortable for a kid, it’s important to change the dressing appropriately. Clinicians who are treating a pediatric burn victim will want to share these tips with their guardian:

Communication is key

Burns are uncomfortable for anyone, but for children, they can be scratchy and cause further irritation, even when a new dressing is being added. Before changing any wound dressing, parents should explain to the child what will occur, and if any discomfort might be felt in the process. For example, some of the gauze used to wrap the wound may stick slightly with the antiseptic cream. Be sure to describe what you’ll do with vocabulary that the child will understand.

Ointment placement

Many parents will not be aware that the ointment or cream that goes over the burn will need to be applied to the dressing, not the burn site. It is common for guardians to treat wounds with a topical ointment applied directly to the skin, but in the case of a burn, this may place unnecessary pressure on the wound site, possibly prolonging the healing process.

Ointment should always be applied with a clean wooden popsicle stick or a butter knife, never with fingers. Even though clinicians and parents should always wash their hands prior to preparing the dressing, some bacteria or viruses can still make their way into the ointment container, making the child susceptible to illness.


The type of clothing children wear when healing from a burn can be an integral part of the recovery process, so it’s important for clinicians to always mention what fabrics to avoid to both the child and the parent/guardian. Here are some general tips:

Avoid tight-fitting clothing near the burn site. This may cause the skin to develop blisters.
Although it is important to keep the burn area out of direct sunlight, the child should also remain comfortable. Dressing the child too heavily will cause them to overheat, which can further irritate the burn site.
Be sure that all clothing that will come in close contact with the burn site is cleaned thoroughly with hypoallergenic detergents. Detergents with additives and dyes can easily damage the skin.
When the burn is almost healed, parents and clinicians should be sure to tell the child the risks of scratching the burn site. Parents should make sure the wound has lotion applied to the skin at least three times a day to try and limit the dryness of the skin around the wound.
To limit the amount of scratching the child may do during the night, have the kid wear socks or light mittens while they sleep. This way, any scratches will be limited.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.