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Kidsafe responds to mum's viral 'life-saving' advice for treating child's burns

The Gold Coast mum said her son was 'hysterical' after scalding himself with boiling water and she explained what to do in such a situation.

A viral video advising what to do if your child is scalded by boiling water has confused some Aussie parents who have sought clarification on the best procedure to follow.

After experiencing every parent's worst nightmare in July when her 18-month-old pulled her hot tea on top of himself, Gold Coast mum Beki quickly showered him under cold, running water for at least 20 minutes.

"They're going to be screaming, they're going to be crying. It's going to be f**king freezing cold but you will save their life," registered nurse Beki said. "My little boy was beside himself. I had to sing Twinkle Little Star while I was sobbing, holding him in the shower while just running icy cold water over his burn."

The TikTok video attracted thousands of comments with many grateful for Beki's advice. But some questioned how cold the water should be.

The mum explained how to treat a child's burns and shared her son was 'beside him' when the accident happened, before Kidsafe responded.
Kidsafe have responded to the Gold Coast mum's advice on how to treat burns in children. Source: TikTok / beki.giunta

How cold should the running water be?

Child accident prevention charity Kidsafe has confirmed to Yahoo News Australia what people should do in the case of their child being scalded by boiling water, and has given some clarification about the water being "icy cold".

"It was probably an exaggeration of the term but the regular commentary is cool running water for 20 minutes," a spokesperson said. "Even if you have a shower you're not going to get freezing water. It would be hard to get unless you add ice."

According to Kidsafe, 79 per cent of severe burns to children occur at home and hot beverages are the most common cause of scald injury, making it crucial for parents to know what to do if they find themselves in the situation.

Kidsafe's advice on treating burns and scalds in children. Source: Yahoo Australia
Kidsafe's advice on treating burns and scalds in children. Source: Yahoo Australia

Should the child's clothing be removed?

Removing the child's clothing should be considered on a case by case basis. Keeping clothing against a child's skin can keep the heat in and makes burns deeper, with Beki choosing to remove her son's garments for this reason. However, in severe cases removing clothes can also remove layers of skin.

"You have to be careful with the removal of clothing because if it's severely burned that coating could be sticking to the skin... It could rip it off," the spokesperson explained.

79 per cent of burns in children occurr in the home. Source: Flinder's University and Sydney Children's Hospital's Network
79 per cent of severe burns to children occur while they are at home. Source: Flinder's University and Sydney Children's Hospital's Network

Running the burn under cool water can help loosen the garment but this is when seeking advice from a medical professional is required. Cool running water is the gold standard treatment as it will not stick or irritate the burn any further, compared to "butter" or "oil" which Beki explains patients had used previously as her time as a nurse.

Should you phone an ambulance?

Immediately Beki phoned an ambulance as the boiling water had come in contact with most of her son's small body. Medical intervention is not always required, however, the decision needs to be "made pretty quickly" and it is better to be "safe than sorry", according to Kidsafe.

"If in doubt, phone 000," the spokesperson said. "A two year old has very delicate skin and if it's boiling water on the skin that's extremely serious."

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