Home Wound Care for Burns

Wound care for your child at home

Your child may come home with unhealed areas that still need dressing changes. You will be trained on how to change dressings before you leave the hospital. You don't need to keep a sterile environment for home dressing changes. But, care for the wound in as clean an area as possible. Whoever is doing the dressing change should:

  • Scrub hands, including under the fingernails, for at least 20 seconds with soap and clean, running water before and after changing the dressings. Hands should also be washed after removing the old bandage and before the new dressing is applied.

  • Set out and open the new dressings before removing the old ones.

  • Use lukewarm water when bathing your child (be sure your hot water tank temperature is set below 120°F (49°C) so that very hot water can't be turned on accidentally).

  • Be very gentle when bathing burned skin.

Your child may say that the burn is itchy. This is a very common. This may be because the oil glands in the skin were damaged by the burn and the skin is dry. Ask your child's healthcare provider about medicine and ointments that can help with the itching. 

If it seems that the dressing changes are extremely painful for your child, ask your child's healthcare provider about giving your child medicine before starting the dressing change. Time the medicine so it's at its strongest when you change the dressing.

The new skin over the burn area is more sensitive than the skin over the rest of the body. To protect your child's skin, make sure your child takes these steps:

  • Wear soft, comfortable clothes.

  • Try to not do activities that may rub, irritate, or reinjure the area.

  • Try not to go out in the sun. If you must go out, put clothes, a hat, and sunscreen on yourself and your child. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Even when it's cloudy or your child is in the sun for only a short time, your child's healing skin can become sunburned easily.

  • Don't stay out too long in cold weather. Healing (and healed) burn areas are also sensitive to cold.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2023
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