Applying cold water is the best first approach for treating burns on children

Cooling the newly burned part of a child’s body with running water is the best method to reduce the chances of the following skin grafts and surgical procedures in general according to a new study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

This is very clearly stated by Bronwyn R. Griffin, a researcher at the Centre for Research on Children’s Health at the University of Queensland (Australia) who published the study: if a child gets burned, the first treatment should be 20 minutes of cold running water. The latter, in fact, proves to be more effective and its usefulness lasts up to three hours after the injury.

The study made use of data from children who suffered burns and who received, once they entered the emergency room, initial therapy with 20 or more minutes of cooling down with water. This initial approach reduced the likelihood of the need for a skin graft by more than 40%. In addition, this approach was linked to a reduction in the likelihood of hospitalization (by 35.8%) and a reduction in the likelihood of surgery (by 42.4%).

This is also important because healing more quickly involves a lower risk of scars remaining on the body.

The same study points out that the first treatment with running water was also better than the alternatives represented mostly by treatment with aloe, gel, butter or egg whites, for example.

“Whether you are a parent or a paramedic, it is highly recommended that you administer 20 minutes of cold running water to a child’s burn. This is the most effective way to reduce the severity of tissue damage from all thermal burns,” Griffin reports.

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