Wed, Nov 13, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Parents lacking knowledge about first aid for burns

By Lo chi and Dennis Xie  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Childhood Burn Foundation members pose at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei after a news conference to promote more knowledge about first-aid for burns ahead of Universal Children’s Day on Wednesday next week.

Photo: Lo Chi, Taipei Times

A recent survey by the Childhood Burn Foundation and the Global Views Survey Research Center indicates that a majority of parents in Taiwan do not know how to treat burns.

The poll found that 80 percent of parents do not know that a burn should be held under cool running water for 15 to 30 minutes, nearly 40 percent do not know that a burn should be immersed in water before seeking treatment at a hospital and 30 percent do not know that a burn should be covered by clean gauze.

The survey — which collected responses from 500 parents with children under the age of 18 — found that although 99.2 percent of respondents know the basic first aid steps for burn treatment, including rinsing the burn, removing clothes in the burn area to avoid adhesion, dipping the burned area in water, covering the burn with gauze and then seeking medical treatment, nearly 80 percent did not know burns should be rinsed for 15 to 30 minutes.

Unintentional injury is the largest cause of death for children aged from one to 14, and burns are the most common injury, Ministry of Health and Welfare data showed.

Eighty percent of burns in children — mostly caused by spilled hot drinks or soup — occur at home, and 80 percent of such burns occur to children aged one to two years, Tung Kuang-yi (董光義), head of the plastic surgery department at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei, said on Thursday last week.

Parents should be extra cautious with any hot containers, as a hot cup of tea can cause a burn covering 10 percent of the body of a one to two-year-old toddler, Tung said.

While many parents apply things that are “cool and minty” on children’s burns, such as alcohol and toothpaste, these things are not actually cooling, but irritating and can complicate later medical treatment, he said.

Ice cubes are not helpful, either, as they make blood vessels contract, and can deepen the depth of the burn, he added.

Proper first-aid procedures include holding the burn wound under cool — not cold — running water for at least 15 minutes and removing the children’s clothes in the process, and then immersing the burn in water for at least 15 minutes more to cool down the surface of the skin, Tung said.

Foundation chairman Chang Wen-han (張文瀚) said that before rushing to a hospital emergency room, parents use the “golden time” to administer first aid, as it could halt further damage.

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