Home wound care

Providing wound care for your child at home:

Your child may come home with unhealed areas that still require dressing changes. You will be instructed on how to change dressings before you leave the hospital. It is not necessary to maintain a sterile environment for home dressing changes, but they should take place in as clean an area as possible. Whoever is doing the dressing change should:

  • Wash hands well before and after changing the dressings.
  • Set out and open the new dressing before removing the old ones.
  • Use lukewarm water when bathing your child (be sure your hot water tank temperature is set below 120°F so that very hot water cannot be turned on accidentally).
  • Be gentle when bathing burned skin.

If it appears that the dressing changes are extremely painful for your child, you may want to discuss pain medication with your child's physician.

The new skin over the burn area is more sensitive than the skin over the rest of the body. To protect your child's skin, make sure your child takes the following steps:

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Protect the newly healed skin. Avoid rough play and aggressive scratching.
  • Avoid going out in the sun as much as possible. Wear clothes that cover the burned area and a hat to protect the head and face. Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Even a short exposure to the sun can cause a sunburn to newly healed skin.
  • Do not stay out in cold weather. Healing burn areas are also sensitive to cold.

Healing skin can be dry

The burn damages the glands in the skin that make oils. Until the glands work, again, you can put lotion on your child's dry skin. Cocoa butter is often recommended. Do not use products on the skin that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries the skin. You will need to read the labels on different lotions to see if they contain alcohol and then avoid that lotion. Also consult your child's physician regarding skin products.