KidsMD Health Topics

Chemical Burns in Children

  • Chemical burns can occur when strong acids or alkalies come in contact with your child's skin or eyes.

    The Skin Caring for chemical burns:

    • Rinse exposed area with running water for 20 minutes; a hose is preferable but you may use a shower or faucet.
    • Carefully remove the contaminated clothing, making sure not to touch the unaffected skin with the contaminated clothing. Cut clothing away, if necessary.
    • If the chemical has splashed into your child's eyes, begin rinsing his eyes immediately and continue doing so until medical help has arrived. If your child wears contact lenses, try to remove them.
    • Cover the burned area loosely with a dry, clean cloth.
    • If the chemical your child has been exposed to is a dry or powdered chemical, it may not be necessary to rinse the area with water. Instead of rinsing, gingerly wipe the powder from the skin and check the package enclosure for emergency advice.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches more serious chemical burns

    The Pediatric Environmental Health Center at Children's offers multidisciplinary evaluation and management of children with known or suspected exposure to environmental toxins, including paints, stripping chemicals and pesticides. Our team provides the comprehensive, coordinated services if your child's skin or eyes have been exposed to harmful chemicals. Services provided include:

    • patient evaluation: complete history and physical exam
    • laboratory testing
    • treatment provided by experienced pediatric environmental medicine toxicologists
    • prevention: Guidance and practical advice for reducing and eliminating exposures
    • telephone and/or written consultations to treating primary care providers
    • 24 hour telephone access: 1-888-Child14
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