High child scald ratings a concern for paramedics

With winter upon us, NSW Ambulance is warning people about the dangers of drinking hot beverages such as tea and coffee near children after it was found 204 babies and toddlers had been treated for scalds in eight months.

Paramedics attended 535 responses across NSW for burns caused mostly by hot beverages, together with food and cooking oil between September 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013. 

These figures do not include people burned in fire-related incidents.

Alarmingly, children whose skin was most vulnerable to such burns featured highest at 30 per cent. 

Hot beverages accounted for most scalds in children.

In the Sydney metropolitan region, paramedics treated 309 patients, with children aged two-years-old and under accounting for 138 cases. 

Northern NSW recorded 121 responses of which 37 were aged two-years-old and under, southern NSW 70 responses with 16 aged two-years-old and under, and western NSW with 35 responses of which 13 were aged two-years-old and under.

Other NSW totals included: 

Oil (72), food (39) -including 13 hot noodles - radiator fluid (21), and pressure cooker/steamer/hot pot (17).

Paramedics advise the following to prevent liquid burns in children:

• Check bath water before placing a child in the bath to ensure it is a safe temperature.

• Keep hot liquids out of children’s reach.

• Do not leave saucepan handles hanging over the edge of a stove, or kettle cords within reach.

If a person is burned:

• Dial 000 immediately and ask for Ambulance.

• Cool the burn area with plenty of cool running water, for at least 20 minutes.

• DO NOT apply ointment, cream or butter to the affected area.

• If possible remove rings and jewellery from burn areas.

• Take off loose clothing so it does not stick to the burn.