June 3, 2020
Nearly One Third of Children Do Not Receive the Recommended First Aid Treatment For Burns

Protect your family this National Burns Awareness Month

Kidsafe Australia is urging parents and carers to take action to prevent burns as winter hits and ensure they are aware of the correct first aid measures if a burn does occur.

The call comes during National Burns Awareness Month, an Australia-wide campaign focused on raising awareness of prevention and correct first aid treatment for burns and scalds across all age groups. The campaign is run by Kidsafe Australia in partnership with the Australian and New Zealand Burns Association (ANZBA).

Recently released data from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ) shows that in 2018/19, 906 children aged under 15 were admitted to burns units across Australia and New Zealand – approximately 17 per week.

The statistics also reveal that nearly one third (28.7%) of children, 37% of adults (16-64 years) and 50% of older adults (65 years +), did not receive the recommended ‘gold standard’ initial first aid treatment for their burn injury, underlining the importance of continued education on burns first aid.

Bernard Carney, Head of the Burns Service at Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital, stressed the importance of administering correct first aid in the event of a burn.

“If a burn occurs, it is critical that cool running water is applied to the burn area for 20 minutes. Immediately taking the correct first aid steps can make a significant difference in the rehabilitation and long-term outcome of the burn”, said Mr Carney.

The home is the most common location for childhood burn injuries, with the majority occurring in the kitchen (45.9%) and over a third when the child was near someone cooking (34.7%).

Kidsafe Australia spokesperson, Holly Fitzgerald, highlighted the importance of burns prevention, especially coming into the winter months when there is an increased risk of burns and scalds.

“It’s important as parents and carers that we remain vigilant and take action to help reduce the risk of burns to children. Along with active adult supervision, important prevention steps include keeping children out of the kitchen when meals are being prepared, placing hot food and drinks out of reach and restricting children’s access to potential burn hazards including heaters, treadmills and household appliances”, said Ms Fitzgerald.

Shennel Martin was just eight years old when she endured third-degree burns to over 40 percent of her upper body after a candle caused her clothes to catch fire while she was playing. During the early stages of her hospital admission, the doctors were uncertain if she would survive as a result of her injuries.

Shennel has joined forces with Kidsafe to share her story as part of National Burns Awareness Month and help raise awareness of burns prevention.

“In a way I was lucky – if it wasn’t for the actions of my sister, family and neighbours who extinguished the flames, my burns could have been a lot worse”, Shennel recounted.

“Educating children and adults about burn and scald risks is so important. If sharing my story helps even just one person to be more aware about how burn injuries can happen in the blink of an eye and what they can do to help prevent them, it has made a difference.”

During National Burns Awareness Month, Kidsafe Australia is encouraging parents and carers to download and use their Burns Safety Checklist to prevent burns around the home, and to ensure they are aware of the correct first aid steps to take in the event that someone sustains a burn:

  •  Remove – remove yourself from danger. Remove any clothing and jewellery from the burn area unless well stuck to the skin.
  • Cool – place the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes. Never use items like ice, oil or butter as these can make the burn worse.
  • Cover the burn with a clean dressing.
  • Seek medical attention if the burn or scald is on the face, hands, feet, genitals or buttocks, is larger than a 20-cent coin or blistered.

Media Enquiries
Holly Fitzgerald, Kidsafe SA – 0404 001 487
Melanie Courtney, Kidsafe VIC – 0421 730 252
Scott Phillips, Kidsafe WA – 0400 828 011
Susan Teerds, Kidsafe QLD – 0411 104833
Jenny Branch-Allen, Kidsafe TAS – 0417 381 721
Christine Erskine, Kidsafe NSW – 0427 714 749
Jes Chalmers, Kidsafe ACT – 0411 433 965

National Burns Awareness Month is an initiative run by Kidsafe Australia in partnership with ANZBA. The campaign runs at the beginning of winter in June each year as there is a significantly increased risk of burns during winter months. A series of national educational and awareness initiatives will be delivered throughout the month to raise awareness regarding the prevention and correct first aid treatment of minor burns and scalds.

For more information about National Burns Awareness Month please visit: