Burns: Caring For Your Child's Burn at Home between Outpatient Visits

Your child has a burn injury. This injury may need treatments from the nurse in an outpatient dressings clinic. Between these visits, you will need to take care of your child's burn at home.

Your nurse will do the first dressing changes during your visits to the hospital. Your child will have regular appointments until the burn is manageable at home.

Write down the date and times of your outpatient visit here:

Write down the phone number of the clinic here:

Taking care of the burn wound at home


Good pain management will help your child’s burn heal. You may give your child acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for comfort the first few days after the injury. Always read the instructions on the label.

Your doctor may give you a prescription for stronger pain medicines if needed for visits to the outpatient dressings clinic.


Parents often worry about their child’s safety after a burn injury. As long as it is not painful, encourage your child to participate in any activities they typically do.


Good nutrition will help your child’s burn heal. Serve your child foods that are high in protein and energy. Good examples are meats, eggs, yogurts, cheese, and pasta. 


 Simple Burn Care at Home


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Caring for your child once the burn has healed

After a time, your child's burn injury will have healed enough so that they no longer need to go to the outpatient clinic. It can take some time after that for the burn injury to heal completely. Here are some things you can do to help.


It is very important to keep the new skin clean. Clean your bathtub as you normally would. Be sure to wash your own hands before caring for your child’s skin. Bathe your child, including the healed skin, in a warm soapy bath or shower once a day. Use regular soap without perfume. Pat the injury site dry; do not rub it.

Skin cream and massage

The longer the burn injury took to heal, the more chance there will be scars.  You cannot stop scars from forming, but you can help minimize the appearance of scars by using proper skin care and regular massage with skin cream without perfume.


Caring for Healing Skin
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Applying skin cream with gentle massage helps new skin from a burn injury to heal with less scarring. Massage the cream in gentle circles, pressing just firm enough so that the scar turns white under your fingertips.

Apply the cream and massage firmly and evenly over the areas using your fingertips. Continue until the cream is absorbed into the skin. This should take about 5 minutes. Do this 3 to 5 times each day. Many children find this soothing. It usually helps with itchiness as new skin tends to be drier.

Some children find new skin to be very sensitive to the touch. It is very important that you keep touching new skin. The more the area is touched, the less sensitive it will be.


Healed skin can be itchy. Extra baths and skin cream will help make new skin less itchy. Keep your child’s nails short and clean to help prevent scratching and infection.

Heat, cold, and sunlight

Protect your child’s new skin from heat and cold, as it can be hyper-sensitive. The new skin will also burn easily. Keep your child out of direct sunlight and apply a waterproof sun block with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Reapply after swimming.

Your child should also wear light clothing over the burned area. If new skin is exposed to sunlight, it will darken evenly and this colour will be permanent.

In very cold weather, dress your child warmly.

Getting help

If you have questions about your child's health, here are three ways to find answers:

  • Contact your clinic nurse.
  • Bring your questions with you to the clinic appointments. Write them down before you come so you do not forget any questions when you arrive.
  • Contact your family doctor for health concerns that are not related to the burn injury.

Key points

  • Keep your child’s skin clean and moisturized.
  • Protect your child’s skin from heat cold and sunlight.
  • Serve your child foods that are high in protein and energy.
  • Your child can do all the activities they used to do.
  • Make sure you return to the hospital for your child’s follow-up appointments.
​Cha​ris Kelly, RN (EC) MN