Burns and scalds

A burn is caused by dry heat, for example an iron, fire, or friction from a carpet. A scald is caused by something wet, for example hot water or steam.

A cup of tea can be the most dangerous thing in your home. Any hot drink can scald a child even 20 minutes after it was made. Most childhood burns and scalds happen at home. Children can climb and reach higher than you think.

What to do

  • Get your child away from the heat source to stop the burning
  • Cool the burn for 20 minutes with cool or lukewarm running water
  • Remove clothing near burnt area. Do not remove anything stuck to the skin
  • Keep your child warm
  • Cover the burn with cling film. Lay the cling film on the burn, do not wrap it
  • Use painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Sit upright if the face or eyes are burnt
  • Don’t put butter, toothpaste, oil or ointment on a burn or scald
  • Call NHS 111 for advice
Take your child to the nearest Accident and Emergency department if:
  • they are under the age of 5 years old
  • large or deep burns for example bigger than your child’s hand
  • burns of any size that cause white or charred skin
  • all chemical or electrical burns
  • any burn that blisters
  • has any other injuries that need treating

Visit the NHS website for further information. 


  • Hot drinks:
    • Keep hot drinks away from young children
    • Don't pass a hot drink over a child
    • Never hold a baby and a hot drink at the same time
    • Make a safe place for hot drinks in your home, out of reach of small children
  • Hair straighteners and curling tongs can still burn 8 minutes after being unplugged. Put them out of reach while they cool and make sure your child cannot grab the cord
  • Bath time:
    • Put cold water in first then add hot water
    • Dip your elbow into the water to check how it will feel for your child
    • Stay with your child all the time when they are in the bath. Make sure they do not play with the hot tap
    • Fit a thermostatic mixing value (TMV) to control the water temperature
  • Bottles of formula feed Mix well to avoid hot spots and check the temperature of the milk before feeding
  • Sunshine Use an appropriate sunscreen and keep your child in the shade where possible. Sunburn can happen in as little as 15 minutes even in the UK​​​​​​​
  • Pans Turn handles away from the edge of the counter or cooker. Use the back rings of the cooker
  • Kettle cords Push the cord to the back of the counter or use a short cord to keep it out of reach
    Hobs and hotplates can stay hot even after they are turned off. Oven doors can be hot when the oven is on. Keep children away
  • Chip pans easily cause fires. The oil stays hot for a long time. Keep out of reach and away from children
  • Matches, cigarette lighters and candles Keep them out of reach and sight, ideally locked away​​​​​​​
  • Heaters and fires Always use a fireguard that encloses the whole fireplace and make sure it is attached to the wall. Do not place anything on it
  • Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test them every week and change the batteries every year

You can treat your child's very minor illnesses and injuries at home.

Some illnesses can be treated in your own home with support and advice from the services listed when required, using the recommended medicines and getting plenty of rest.

Sound advice

Children can recover from illness quickly but also can become more poorly quickly; it is important to seek further advice if a child's condition gets worse.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

All community pharmacies across England are required to be Healthy Living Pharmacies. This means that they are able to offer advice on a range of healthy living matters which includes eating a healthy diet. They can provide information leaflets and give parents, carers and young people more information about other organisations that might also be able to help.

Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare, and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment, and many have private consultation areas. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

Sound advice

  1. Visit a pharmacy if your child is ill, but does not need to see a GP.
  2. Remember that if your child's condition gets worse, you should seek further medical advice immediately.
  3. Help your child to understand. Watch this video with them about going to the pharmacy.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

Health visitors are nurses or midwives who are passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. They work with you through your pregnancy up until your child is ready to start school.

Health Visitors can also make referrals for you to other health professionals for example hearing or vision concerns, or to the Community Paediatricians, or the child and adolescent mental health services.


Contact your local Health Visiting Team:

Bradford Health Visitors or call - 01274 221223

Wakefield Health Visitors or call - 0300 373 0944

Craven Health Visitors or call - 01423 544265

Leeds Health Visitors or call - 0113 843 5683

Calderdale Health Visitors or call - 030 0304 5555 (local rate number)

Kirklees Health Visitors or call - 030 0304 5555 (local rate number)

Sound advice

Health visitors also provide advice, support and guidance in caring for your child, including:

For more information about what Health Visitors do: What does a health visitor do?

School nurses care for children and young people, aged 5 to19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and, or emotional health needs.


Contacting the School Nurse

Primary and secondary schools have an allocated school nurse. Phone your child’s school to ask for the contact details of your named school nurse.

There is also a specialist nurse who works with families who choose to educate their children at home.

Contact your local school nursing team:

Bradford School Nurses 01274 221203

Wakefield School Nurses (0 to 19 service) 0300 373 0944 (local rate number)

Leeds School Nurses 0113 843 5683

Calderdale School Nurses 030 3330 9974 (local rate number)

Kirklees School Nurses 0300 304 5555 (local rate number)

Sound Advice

Before your child starts school your health visitor will meet with the school nursing team to transfer their care to the school nursing service. The school nursing team consists of a school nursing lead, specialist public health practitioners and school health staff nurses.

They all have a role in preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing, by:

  • encouraging healthier lifestyles
  • offering immunisations
  • giving information, advice and support to children, young people and their families
  • supporting children with complex health needs

Each member of the team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families where there are child protection or safeguarding issues.

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it.

All children should be registered with a GP. Anyone in England can register for free with a GP surgery. You do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

How to find your local GP.

Sound advice

You have a choice of service:

  1. Doctors/GPs can treat many illnesses that do not warrant a visit to A&E.
  2. Help your child to understand. Watch this video with them about visiting the GP or going to a walk in centre

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Please note, the online version of NHS 111 is only recommended for children over the age of 5. If your child is under 5 years old, please phone 111.

NHS 111 can also direct you to your nearest urgent treatment centre (minor injuries unit or walk-in centre).

Find your local urgent treatment centre.

When to visit an urgent treatment centre.

Sound advice

Use NHS 111 if you are unsure what to do next, have any questions about a condition or treatment or require information about local health services.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • major trauma such as road traffic collisions

If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.

Sound advice

  1. Many visits to A&E and calls to 999 could be resolved by any other NHS services.
  2. If your child's condition is not critical, choose another service to get them the best possible treatment.
  3. Help your child to understand. Watch this video with them about going to A&E or riding in an ambulance