Burns and scalds: 5 - 9 years

How big a problem is it?

Over 250 children are hospitalised or die from burns each year. This is a rate of about 27 per 100,000 children.

Who does it affect?

It’s mostly children under the age of four that are at the highest risk, but the risk of burns is still present for older children aged 5- 9, with over one child in this age group hospitalised every two weeks. Pacific Island and Maori children were hospitalised from burns at roughly three times the rate of European children in the period 2013-2017.

Top Tips

Hot water burns like fire so set your hot water tap to between 50 and 55 degrees centigrade.

Around the house:

  • Use protective screens to stop children getting too close to fireplaces. These will also prevent their clothes from accidentally catching on fire. 

  • Make sure you place hot appliances such as the iron and hair straighteners out of reach after they’ve been used. 

  • Children will play with matches and lighters so keep them locked away. 

  • Every house should have a working fire alarm on every level and in each bedroom, living area and hallway. Make a note to check them monthly and to change the battery twice a year.

In the kitchen:

  • When cooking, turn pot handles towards the back and block access to the stove. Keep hot foods and drinks away from the edge of the counter. 

  • Include older kids in cooking so you can use the opportunity to teach them how to cook safely. Only let them use the microwave when they are tall enough to reach inside safely, and remind them to always use oven gloves when taking food off the stove and out of the oven.

Outside the home:

  • The sun can heat up playground equipment quickly and burn a child’s thin skin. If it’s a very hot day only use the play equipment in the morning and at night when it has had a chance to cool down.

First Aid

If your child has a serious burn or scald that is causing a lot of pain or involves their eyes, call 111 immediately.

How you can help

  • Run cool water from a tap or shower over the burn for up to 20 minutes or until an ambulance arrives.

  • When the burn has cooled, carefully remove clothing from the area, cutting around the fabric if it is stuck.

  • To prevent infection, loosely cover the burn (except when on the face) with a clean non-fluffy material such as a sheet (or plastic wrap), and avoid touching the burn.

If the burn is causing on-going pain or involves the eyes, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Links to Safekids’ resources

Burns Injury Prevention resources

Links to other organisations’ information

Burns Support Group

NZ National Burn Service Patient and Whānau Information

NZ Fire and Emergency Home Safety Information

Vector Safety