What to do if your Child is Scalded

November 26, 2012

By: David Jaffe

There are thousands of scalding injuries in the home every year to young children.

Disabled and elderly persons, as well as young children are the most vulnerable to such injuries, while they are washing with or bathing in hot water.

If you find that your child has been seriously scalded, of course, you immediately need to call 911 to get emergency treatment for your child. In the meantime, it is often advantageous to apply cold water to the scalded areas.

If the scald burns turn out to be first or second degree burns, although these burns can be very painful, the prognosis may be positive for a return to prior health of your child, without serious scarring. This would be for a physician to determine.

If considerable third degree burns occur, which kill all the layers of the skin, to the fatty tissue, then this may be a very serious or potentially life threatening event. It is therefore urgent that your child be rushed by ambulance and perhaps, eventually, by Life Star helicopter, to the nearest hospital. Hospitals such as Bridgeport Hospital, in conjunction with The Yale Medical Center and Shriners Hospitals for Children, in Boston and other locations throughout the country, specialize in treating and reconstructing serious pediatric burns.

Many years ago, when a large portion of a baby's body was consumed with third degree burns, scalding or otherwise, as a result of the thermal shock to the system and other complications, mortality was often the result.

Today, however, with new treatment methods for combating thermal shock and dealing with severe burns, the prognosis is much improved.

With modern advancements in pediatric burn reconstruction, once a young child has survived the initial systemic trauma produced by severe burns to their body, they have a good chance to lead a healthy and satisfactory existence if they receive intensive, appropriate and multi-disciplinary care throughout the rest of their lives, according to modern studies.

For example, with massive burns, the child will likely need lifelong psychiatric counseling to deal with the initial, terrible pain, shock to their system, freight and horror which such burns evoke and their gradual realization, as they mature, of their permanent deformity and it's progressively significant effect on their life.

Over time, as well, they likely require expert skin care and future surgeries to deal with their scars, particularly as they grow. Additionally, they will continue to experience sensitivity to touch and light, as well as the variability, rigidity and thinness of the areas where they were burned and scarred and of the areas of the donor sites, where skin was removed and grafted to replace severely burned skin.

Thus, a severely scalded and burned young child is expected to face a lifetime of discomfort and vigilant attention to their injuries. However, if care is properly administered, the child can hopefully manage such condition on a reasonable basis if they are provided with a proper, multi-discipling approach to care.

Of the thousands of scalding injuries suffered by young children every year in households throughout the nation, a large percentage occur because of a water heater which is not properly manufactured, designed and/or installed. If a parent determines that their children may have suffered such an injury as a result of such defect, they can call their state consumer protection agency and they can also call an attorney, experienced in suits of this nature, to help them investigate whether an actionable product defect caused their child's injury.

It should be emphasized that parents should do all they can do to make sure that their water heater and its component parts are safe and maintained in a manner which alleviates the risk of outlet temperatures in the home hot enough to produce serious injuries to users of their sinks and bath tubs, particularly in regard to their young children.