Essential burns first aid: 20 minutes of cool running water is critical

by | Jun 1, 2023 | News and Media

Media Release

20 minutes of cool running water is critical! 

“If a burn happens, then it’s critical that cool running water is applied to the burn area for 20 minutes. Administering correct first aid measures can make a significant difference in the rehabilitation and long-term outcome of the burn injury”, said Jenny Branch-Allen, CEO of Kidsafe Tasmania. 

This June, Kidsafe Australia, in partnership with the Australian & New Zealand Burns Association (ANZBA), is encouraging parents and carers to learn how to prevent burns and apply the correct first aid steps for burn injuries. 

National Burns Awareness Month is an Australia-wide campaign run by Kidsafe Australia to raise awareness of burn prevention and correct first-aid treatments for burns and scalds.

According to data from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ), in 2020/21, 1,009 children under 15 were admitted to burns units across Australia and New Zealand – approximately 19 per week.

The primary cause of injury in paediatric patients was scalds (49%), in particular scalds from hot drinks such as tea and coffee and food (liquid or solid). The home or usual residence was the most common place of burn for both paediatric and adult patients (76% and 58%, respectively). 

The statistics also reveal that 26% of children and 43% of adults (≥16 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.

Jenny Branch-Allen, Kidsafe Tasmania CEO, stressed the importance of administering correct first aid in the event of a burn.

Prevention and treatment of burns and scalds

  • Prevent – take action to prevent burns and scalds. Learn more at:
  • Remove – remove yourself from danger. Remove any clothing and jewellery from the burn area unless stuck to the skin
  • Cool – Place the burn under cool running water for twenty minutes. Items like ice, oil or butter should never be placed on a burn.
  • 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. 

For more information about National Burns Awareness Month and burns prevention and first aid resources, please visit:

  • Kidsafe Australia
  • ANZBA – The peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Twitter – @BurnsAwareMonth
  • Facebook – @kidsafeaustralia

About National Burns Awareness Month

National Burns Awareness Month is an initiative run by Kidsafe Australia, in partnership with ANZBA. Held in June, as there is a significantly increased risk of burns and scalds during winter, the month aims to raise awareness of burns injury, prevention measures and the correct burns first aid. 

A series of national educational and awareness initiatives will be run throughout the month to raise awareness regarding the prevention and correct first aid treatment of minor burns through social media. 

Media Enquiries 

Jes Chalmers, Kidsafe ACT – 0411 433 965

Christine Erskine, Kidsafe NSW – 0427 714 749 

Meg Fernando, Kidsafe NT – 

Susan Teerds, Kidsafe QLD – 0459 128 281

Holly Fitzgerald, Kidsafe SA – 0404 001 487

Jenny Branch-Allen, Kidsafe TAS – 0417 381 721 

Jason Chambers, Kidsafe VIC- 0431 447 982

Scott Phillips, Kidsafe WA – 0400 828 011 

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