The most common burn that requires medical attention is classified as a Second Degree Burn. A second degree burn involves the first two layers of skin and will often result in the skin turning white with varying amounts of blistering. In the home, this type of burn is generally caused by scalding hot water, minimal fire contact, and contact with burning hot items such as pans, burners.

So here’s how to treat a burn:

1. Quickly place the burned area under cool (but not cold) water for roughly 10 – 45 minutes. This helps in stopping the burning process, reducing the blistering, and most importantly easing the pain.
2. Gently dry the burned area and apply Polysporin Triple Action with pain relief or similar to help treat the burn and prevent infection.
3. Wrap the burned area with gauze.
4. Give the child either Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) or both to deal with the pain.
5. Seek medical attention.

The important component about the treatment is to get the burn under cool water right away. Don’t think about it. Just get the burn under cool water and keep it there.

If the child has sustained a second degree burn to a larger area of the body making it harder to submerge under cool water then one option would be to wrap the burn area with a sheet and pour cool water over it (the sheet) until paramedics arrive. This would cool down the burn but more importantly, it would relieve the pain.

This article was originally published on my parenting blog at

This topic on burns is covered in the Toronto First Aid and CPR courses and in the Infant / Child emergency course.

Course is currently unavailable