Now that the cooler months have kicked in, breakfast habits across Australia have changed to suit, and a warm bowl of porridge is now a popular morning meal for many families. This was exactly the scenario for 6-year old Kieran, who one September morning in 2017 was helping his mum cook porridge on the gas stove.
It happened in an instant, as he leant over to help stir the pot, Kieran’s pyjamas caught fire.
In the panic, Kieran began running through the house, screaming in fear and pain; this began the long journey of healing that required a major skin graft, and months of trips from country Victoria to the Burns Unit at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
When the burn took place, Kieran’s mother Tania sprang into immediate action as previous first aid training flooded into her memory. The first aid she applied right at the beginning ultimately fast tracked Kieran’s long-term treatment journey.
“It all happened so quickly and was such a frightening experience – he was screaming and there were flames coming out the side of his pyjamas. I was yelling ‘stop, drop, roll’ – I threw him down and just rolled him,” says Tania.
Once the flames were extinguished, Tania removed the charred pyjamas – luckily, they were cotton pyjamas and hadn’t stuck to his body – and rushed him straight into the shower. She kept constant cool running water on his body until paramedics arrived to administer first aid and pain relief.
Kieran’s burns were so bad he was transferred to The Royal Children’s Hospital via air ambulance. In the months following Kieran underwent skin graft operations taking skin layers from his thigh to help the burn site on the right side of his torso.
Kieran also had to attend physical therapy to regain feeling around the area of the burn and was required to wear a compression garment 23 hours a day for more than 6 months.
Now 8 years old, Kieran is a healthy kid who still loves his porridge. Thanks to his mum and her knowledge of initial burns first aid – as well as some fantastic care at The Royal Children’s Hospital – his treatment was successful.
National Burns Awareness Month is an initiative run by Kidsafe Australia. It is held at the beginning of winter in June each year as there is a significantly increased risk of burns during this time. 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.
Melanie Courtney from Kidsafe is urging parents to take apply a few basic preventative measures to ensure their children are kept safe from burn injuries.
“We understand that parents have so much on their plate, so we’ve tried to make burn safety really simple. We have some great resources that can be downloaded on our website, and very easily applied in the home,” says Melanie.
“Kieran’s story is all too common. The kitchen is where 50% of child burn injuries occur, so taking some simple measures to make children more safe in this room in particular will prevent a lot of burn injuries this year,” she says.
The Bub Hub is proud to support Kidsafe Australia
Kidsafe Australia is urging all parents and carers to download this simple safety checklist kidsafe.com.au/national-burns-awareness-month/ and follow some key steps to prevent and treat burns and scalds to children this winter.