Electrical Burns

Electrical burns occur when there is contact with electricity. Their severity is normally dependent on the type of electricity. Low-voltage exposure typically causes less burning and injury than high-voltage exposures.

Caring for an electrical burn

  • Call or send someone to call 911 for emergency medical help whenever an electrical burn occurs. Serious electrical injuries need urgent medical care.

  • Unplug the appliance or device that has caused the injury or turn off the electrical current at the circuit breaker.

  • If the child is in contact with the electrical current, don't touch them until you turn off the source or the circuit breaker.

  • Check to see if the child is still breathing. If the child isn't breathing, call or send someone to call 911 and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

  • Cover the burned area with a sterile gauze dressing or clean bed sheet.

  • Be aware that a child may go into "shock" after an electrical burn.

  • Don't give the child anything to eat or drink.

  • Place the child on their back, unless a neck or back injury is suspected. If neck or back injury is suspected, don't move the child until paramedics or emergency medical help arrives.

  • If the child has vomited or has a serious injury to the face or mouth area, you may place the child on their side.

  • Keep the child warm with blankets or extra clothing, but don't use a heat source to warm them.

  • Raise the child's feet and legs if the child does not have a back or neck injury. Use a prop or pillow to keep the legs raised.

  • Take the child to the ER if they bite an electrical cord and get a small burn at the corner of their mouth. These burns can be very dangerous and are often much deeper than they look. These burns can severely bleed for hours or even days after the injury.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2021
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