I’m a paramedic and there are 3 old wives’ tales you must NEVER fall for – or risk harming your child

BURNS are incredibly common in children, but not everyone knows how to treat them.

From using butter to toothpaste to soothe the affected area, a variety of old wives’ tales have been suggested to soothe a burn.

Child first responders Tiny Hearts Education have warned parents never to use toothpaste, honey or butter to soothe their child's burns


Child first responders Tiny Hearts Education have warned parents never to use toothpaste, honey or butter to soothe their child’s burnsPhoto credit: Getty

But baby and child first responders Tiny Hearts Education – which was founded by a former paramedic – warned that these old tricks could actually make the problem worse.

A spokesman said: “If it goes on your toast or toothbrush, don’t put it on a burn.

“These things are still commonly used to treat burns, but they actually insulate the area, holding in the heat and increasing the damage.

“Gold standard treatment is cool running water — two to 15 degrees — for at least 20 minutes.”

In a video posted to Instagram, paramedics showed what happens to a burn if you use toothpaste, honey or butter on a burn.

They took four pieces of chicken breast and poured boiling water over them to simulate a common source of burns in children.

The first three are then lathered in each of the unorthodox substances to see how they would affect the temperature.

A thermometer was used to examine each of the pieces, showing that the toothpaste piece had a temperature of 63.1°C after it was applied.

The temperature for the honey piece was 61.4 °C while for the butter covered piece it was 56.2 °C.

For comparison: A piece that was held under cold water for 20 minutes measured 16.1 °C afterwards.

This showed that the old women’s remedies did nothing to cool the meat, while following standard cremation treatment helped bring it to a safe temperature, the team said.

Burns and scalds occur when the skin is damaged, usually from heat, and both are treated in the same way.

Scalds are caused by something wet like boiling water while burns are caused by dry heat like a fire.

They can cause red, peeling skin, blisters, swelling, and white or charred skin.

Treatment of burns and scalds

According to the NHS, you should follow these first aid tips for treating a burn:

  • Immediately move person away from heat source to stop burning
  • Remove any clothing or jewelry that is near the burned skin area, including baby diapers, but do not move anything that is stuck to the skin
  • Cool the burn with cold or lukewarm running water for 20 to 30 minutes – do not use ice, ice water or creams or greasy substances such as butter
  • Make sure the person is keeping themselves warm, for example by using a blanket, but be careful not to rub it on the burned area
  • After you have allowed the burn to cool, cover the burn by placing a layer of cling film over it – a clean plastic bag can also be used for burns on your hand
  • Use painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to manage pain
  • Elevate the affected area if possible – this will help reduce swelling
  • If it is an acid or chemical burn, dial 999, gently try to remove the chemical and any contaminated clothing, and flush the affected area with as much clean water as possible

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing zackzwiezen@ustimespost.com.

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