Caring for Your Child at Home
Our team will educate you throughout your child’s stay at Ranken Jordan so you can confidently care for your child once you return home.
Your time at Ranken Jordan is an opportunity to practice a care schedule and make it a habit to continue at home. Team members can help you adapt your schedule to the home environment.
Your Checklist to Go Home
To get ready for your child to leave Ranken Jordan, please make sure you can answer “yes” to the following questions:
- I/my family understand how my child’s burn will change (heal) over time.
- I/my family member have been taught burn wound care by the burn team.
- I/my family member practiced doing wound care with my child’s care team.
- I/my family member have shown the burn team that I/they can do burn care.
- I/my family member have asked the burn team all of my questions about my child’s
- care, discharge instructions, or both.
- I/my family member have thought about how we will return to home and the
- community (e.g., school).
- I/my family member have made a plan to access mental health care and other available burn support resources available to us in the community.
- I/my family have:
- A ride home
- Received discharge and follow-up instructions
- Received all prescriptions for medicines
- A follow-up appointment to see the burn doctor in the office
- Packed all my/my child’s belongings.
If you have any questions about anything on this checklist, please ask a member of the burn team for help.
Wound Care Tips
- Establish a consistent daily routine to provide predictability and structure.
- Decorate or set up a “spa” atmosphere to make wound care more relaxing.
- Distraction can help decrease anxiety and fear, manage pain, and help with positive coping. This can include age-appropriate play with toys, electronics, deep breathing, counting, meditation, bubbles, music, books, etc.
- Reserve a special toy that your child can only play with during care time.
- Use warm to cool water—never hot water.
- Never remove a dressing that is stuck to the wound. This can damage healthy tissue and slow down wound healing.
- Open wound areas should be washed gently with a washcloth to remove dead skin and old cream. We recommend mild, unscented soap such as Dove or Ivory.
- Complete your child’s range of motion exercises while in the bathtub. It’s an ideal time because the warm water helps to relax your child’s muscles.
- Gently pat the wounds with a towel. Place the dressing on the area right away.
- Keep nails short and well-groomed on both you and your child.
Scar Management and Massage Tips
- Don’t expose healed or grafted skin to the sun. The sun will make the scar darker permanently.
- Apply SPF 30 or greater sunscreen to scars under clothing because most clothing does not provide sun protection. You can purchase some clothing labeled as providing UV protection.
- To manage scars, your care team may recommend scar massage with moisturizer, as well as tight-fitting (compression) garments to help flatten tissue.
- Perform scar massage and stretching in a special location, preferably not in your child’s bed.
- Scar massage should be done three to four times per day to moisturize scars. You can rub any direction during scar massage.
- Only use perfume-free moisturizing lotions or creams. Vaseline and cocoa butter are good options.
- Apply enough pressure on the skin to cause turn the skin white when you’re touching it. This is called blanching.
- Follow your therapist’s instructions for your child’s recommended splint wearing schedule and cleaning guidelines
- Splints should be checked for good fit each time they are worn.
- The splint should fit flush against your child’s body part where it is being applied.
- Once the splint is secured in place with strapping it should not slide, rotate or loosen.
- After removing a splint, check skin for any areas of redness that do not go away after 20 minutes.
- Discontinue use of splints and contact your therapist if you see any of the signs of poor splint fitting mentioned above.
Dealing with Itching
Itching is a normal part of wound recovery. New tissue growth and dry skin may cause a constant itch. Yet for proper healing, the itch shouldn’t be scratched.
To ease itching discomfort:
- Apply non-fragranced, hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep skin moist.
- Do not scratch. Instead, gently pat itchy areas.
- If itching is causing major distress, help your child focus on something else using distraction strategies. Your child life specialist or psychologist can offer suggestions.
- If itching still can’t be managed through other strategies, ask your doctor about possible medication to help.
Returning to Activity
Once you return home, allow your child to get back into activities. This encourages healing and coping and opens the door to socializing with other children. These steps are all important to a healthy sense of normalcy.
Burned skin is particularly sensitive. Take special precautions during your child’s indoor and outdoor activities.
- Initially allow your child to lead activities and be aware of fatigue.
- Schedule periods of rest and activity each day and try to stick to a routine. Find things your child enjoys so they are motivated to be more active.
- Avoid rough play to protect skin. Talk with your doctor before resuming sports or other physical activities.
- Newly healed skin may not have hair follicles or sweat glands, which makes it difficult for your child to regulate body temperature. Be sure your child takes frequent breaks during activity and drink lots of water.
- Avoid the sun, especially during the hottest time of the day (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). Keep any sun exposure brief.
- Use a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and reapply at least every two hours and after sweating or being in the water.
Other Health Matters
Your child should avoid all smoking including tobacco, marijuana and vaping, as well as any second-hand smoke or smoke-filled areas such as a car or a house. Exposure to nicotine and other toxins in smoke reduces nutritional blood flow to the skin, increases the risk of complications, and slows your child’s wound healing.
If anyone in your family smokes, ask them to smoke outside and away from your child. Smokers should put on a different shirt over daily clothes or change clothes after smoking to limit your child’s exposure to smoke on clothing or other items in the environment.
Avoid applying make-up on any facial burns until the skin is completely healed and the doctor says it’s ok to use it.
To minimize scars during healing, your therapist may recommend that your child wear tight-fitting, Dri-Fit clothing with UV (sun) protection. Dri-Fit is a microfiber, polyester fabric that wicks sweat away from the body to evaporate.
If clothing does not state on the tag that it has UV protection, sunscreen should be applied to all scars under clothing. UV protection and SPF ratings should be 30 or higher.
Your child should always wear clothing such as a hat and long sleeves to provide sun protection. You should also take additional sunblock measures in the car because car windows don’t provide UV protection.
Use a mild, fragrance-free detergent to wash clothes. Overheating can make your child’s itching worse so be careful not to overdress your child, especially when sleeping. Clothes may need to be adapted if your child has limited mobility due to burn injuries.