Medical disclaimer: Making of Mom and its writers are not medical professionals. Information given is general in nature and based on our own personal experiences. Please seek medical attention immediately for your child, even if you are unsure of the severity of your child’s burns. Please view our disclaimer and disclosure statement for more details.
This is a confronting post about a very important topic. Although none of us want to think about anything bad happening to our babies, sometimes it does in spite of all our efforts. Here is Emmy’s story about her experience with her baby who was burned by hot tea and her advice to all moms on how to prevent burns and most importantly, what you can do to help straight away.
The day after we realised we definitely needed to get our 2-year-old son checked for a developmental delay, we were in a bit of shock. Probably a bit of grief as well, to be honest.
Well, a lot of grief really.
It was Saturday and we were having a slow morning with our son and our 1-year-old daughter. Finally, we sat up to the table to feed breakfast to the kids, probably around 9ish. I got myself a cup of tea.
By golly, did I need it.
Our kids were not great sleepers and our son would not sleep if he was not wedged between my husband and I. He started in his own bed but always ended up in with us by halfway through the night. The worst part about this was that then he would object to us getting up to see to his sister…!
Mentally our focus was on our son.
He was taking so much of our energy in so many ways, but this day it was all about coming to terms with what it could all actually mean.
I thought I put my cup of tea out of reach of either child, in the middle of the table.
And while I was trying to coax some food into her brother, my daughter pulled the hot tea over herself and me.
I was just a bit annoyed. My leg was wet and hot. And she was crying but I assumed it was because I was cross…
Then I thought I had better take the wet clothes off her legs where the tea had split since it was probably hotter for her skin than for mine, and maybe that would stop her crying.
And I was reasonably calm doing it.
Until I saw her skin peel off with the clothes.
I still feel sick just typing that.
We covered her skin with cold wet cloths and called an ambulance once we realised that we would struggle to get her into her car seat to take her to the emergency rooms.
The ambulance was fast, and the people were amazing in helping her and us.
So learn from my mistake PLEASE!
Here are a few things I learnt from this experience:
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Safety First, Always
Prevention is always better than the cure.
Hot drinks need to be far out of reach of any children. And it is always hotter for young and tender skin than it is for our tough leather which has been worn in for much longer!!
You might also consider taking your hot drinks in a spill-proof coffee mug or thermos while your kids are small.
Hot drinks are actually one of the major causes of burns, but my sister who works as a paediatric nurse says that the other main cause of most of the burns she sees are from people who have a fire or heater without a guard on it.
So the message here is that kids can burn easily and much more quickly than we think. Be safe.
Have your house set up so that the kids would be safe even if you were not there.
Half the time you are distracted so it is as if you were not there anyway (especially if you have more than one child)…! It is impossible to be monitoring children all the time and they are pretty quick in their actions as well… this is definitely where you want to be safe rather than sorry.
First Aid for Burns
It would have been better if we had run her legs under cool water rather than just putting cold cloths on it.
Yes, I knew that, but I was worried about making her too cold, which we did anyway… and by removing the cloths each time we gave her pain when the air came into contact with the burn.
We could have done it the way we did if we had changed the cloths more often AND if we had covered the burns with plastic wrap first. Yes, instead of going back to the ambulance to get their glad wrap, the ambulance workers used the food wrap we had in the kitchen.
Less air on the burn means less pain and a calmer kid. It still needs to be treated properly but it can help with the initial pain. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. It is a tip I learnt from a terrible experience.
If I had it happen again, I would cover the skin with plastic wrap and then put the burn under cool running water.
Seek Help Fast
I know this sounds logical. But honestly, it was twenty minutes before we called the ambulance.
We were busy debating if we could take her ourselves in the car, and that was after we realised she was actually burnt. Which I didn’t and had not spent much time comforting her in the first few minutes.
I will forever feel bad about that.
In the end, she has no scars. There was amazing treatment at the hospital and from the first responders in the ambulance. She can’t remember anything about it either.
But the whole thing would have been less dramatic if we had taken her clothes off immediately and then called the ambulance immediately.
Twenty minutes can be quite a while for a child. Remembering that she was screaming for most of that time… and we could not get medicine of any kind into her either.
As soon as the ambulance workers arrived they gave her something for the pain and she was calmer right away. Then they put the plastic food wrap on her legs and wrapped her in a blanket. And we took her in to the hospital then.
And from then on she was fine. We needed to keep special silver bandages on her burns under bandages. And we had to take her into the hospital for appointments. But none of that compared to the initial pain and shock, so she was absolutely fine with all that happened afterwards.
So act as quickly as you can. It takes time to absorb the shock of what has happened more often than not, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what to do right away, but quicker responses can make the whole horrible event less traumatic.
And overall, keep your precious kids as safe as you can!