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Caring for your child’s face burn injury

Why is my child’s face swollen?

Swelling is part of the bodies normal reaction to a burns injury. It is usually at its worst about 48 hours after the burn. This can be worrying for you and your child particularly if they cannot open their eyes. This is normal and the swelling will go down over the first few days.

Encourage your child to sleep and rest in an upright position, as this will help to reduce the swelling.

Should I be worried about infection?

Any burn injury can become infected and cause your child to become very unwell. If your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius
  • feeling or being sick
  • diarrhoea
  • a rash
  • unusually sleepy or drowsy
  • loss of appetite
  • drinking less

then contact the burns service if you are being treated by us or re-attend the A&E where your child has been treated. Your child should not attend school or nursery until there injury is healed to reduce the risk of infection.

Reduce how many visitors your have to your home, particularly if they are unwell. Limit visits to crowded areas such as shops, cafes and so on.

How should I care for my child’s injury?

You will be given a yellow soft paraffin ointment which should be applied very regularly, every 2 to 3 hours. Try not to let the wound become dry. If it is dripping rather than just moist after application, then you have applied too much. If this happens, just dab off the excess with a clean cloth or a slightly damp flannel.

Your child’s face should be cleaned every day to wash off the ointment from the previous day. The cleaning may be uncomfortable for your child, if this is the case then you can give them some pain relief an hour before you clean their face. This can be paracetamol, and if they need a little more pain relief, give them some ibuprofen too. Please follow the dosage instructions on the package.

The injured areas may feel ‘tight’. Encourage your child to move their face as much as possible, pull funny faces, over exaggerated mouth movements, such as blowing kisses, bubbles and so on. The physiotherapist will have explained if your child needs to do any other exercises as well.

How should I clean my child’s face?

  1. Give your child some pain relief and wait around an hour for it take effect.
  2. Fill a clean bowl or washbasin with warm water and add a few drops of non-perfumed liquid baby soap or clean your child’s face during their usual bath or shower.
  3. Wet some sterile gauze or a clean face flannel in the water and clean your child’s face by dabbing gently at the affected areas. Please use a clean flannel with every wash. Do not use things like baby wet wipes as these often contain perfume or other chemicals, which may irritate your child’s face.
  4. Dry your child’s face with cloth or  towel by gently dabbing their face.
  5. Apply the yellow soft paraffin ointment to the burn. This needs applying very regularly, every 2 to 3 hours.
  6. If your child is prescribed eye drops or eye ointment, these need to be given as directed.

Does my child need more care after their face has healed?

Once you child’s face has fully healed it may still be dry. Use an unperfumed moisturising cream 3 times a day, or more regularly if their skin feels dry. Use unperfumed moisturising creams such as E45, Diprobase, or Aveeno.

Make sure you wash their face thoroughly with an appropriate cleanser or soap at least 2 times a day to stop and moisturising cream grease building up and blocking pores their pores. This can cause a spotty ‘acne’ like rash. If this happens then you need to wash their face more thoroughly. Try using a ‘double cleanse’ method, where the first cleanse removes all the

What precautions do I need to take once my child’s face has healed?

Your child’s healed injury will be much more prone to sunburn and permanent sun damage than normal, so extra care must be taken. When in the sun for at least the first year after injury and if possible 2 years.

Your child must always use a high factor sun cream or total sun block and reapply it frequently.

Your child can also benefit from wearing a brimmed hat and staying in the shade as much as possible.

Will the injury cause a scar?

You will be given advice about scarring and the treatment your child needs to try to prevent scarring developing. If your child’s wound healed quickly (less than 2 weeks) the risk of scarring is low.

The healed burn will stay pink for up to 6 months after healing. We would expect the colour to return to normal over this period. You may notice it becomes pinker when they are hot or upset, or it may become purple when they are cold. This is normal and will also settle.

If you notice their skin becomes firm, raised, very red or is a different texture to normal then do let us know and we can review your child to see if further scar management is needed.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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