June is National Burns Awareness month in Australia. This month-long campaign raises awareness of burn injury, prevention measures and the correct first aid treatments for minor burn injuries.
It is held in June each year to coincide with the onset of winter and cooler temperatures. This seasonal change can increase the risk of burn injury due to greater utilisation of heat sources, uptake of hot food and drinks and outdoor activities that include campfires and fire pits.
We have partnered with Kidsafe Australia and the ANZBA prevention committee to help spread these important messages within our communities.
Raising awareness: burn injury spotlight
For National Burns Awareness Month 2023, we wanted to highlight the dangers of outdoor fire pits. Burns caused by fire pits can result from contact with flames, coals and heat transference onto other surfaces.
The Our Stories section on our website shares lived experiences of burn injury from both adult and paediatric patients. Through sharing their stories, our patients provide the opportunity to foster a greater understanding in the community of the physical, emotional and psychological impacts of burns.
We want to share two incredible stories to raise awareness of fire pit burn injuries.
Living rural, Dusty aged two and her family enjoyed spending time around the fire pit which was buried in the ground on their property. After use on the first weekend of winter, her parents removed the excess wood as usual. Unbeknownst to them, 14 hours later, the pit continued to smoulder, and Dusty tripped on the know height fire pit while looking back over her shoulder as she walked.
She landed directly on her hands and forearms, deep in hot coals; she manoeuvred her body and sat in the pit screaming.
In just 60 seconds, our lives had changed forever – Paige Dusty's mum.
Read more about Dusty's story, her burns journey and how she is today by clicking here
Enjoying a night out at her friend's place, huddling around a fire pit, Sarah went to sit down on what she thought was a bench to realise it was an iron frame that had been exposed to 8 hours of heat; she sustained a full-thickness contact burn to 18% of her body. Learn more about Sarah's story by clicking here.
Gold standard burns first aid
High-quality burns care starts with first aid immediately after a burn injury and is integral in reducing scarring, infections and the need for surgery. Most burn injuries are not intended, and these are often described as accidental, which can be stress-inducing for both the patient and the responder – knowing what to do and how to respond can improve patient outcomes and burn severity.
According to data from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ), in 2020/21 26% of children and 43% of adults (≥16 years) did not receive the recommended best first aid treatment for their injury, underlining the critical importance of community education on burn and scald first aid.
If you are a first responder or suffer a burn injury, remember that water cooling is critical in the initial first aid response. Water cooling involves applying cool running water to the burn for 20 minutes within three hours of sustaining the injury.
We developed the Ben and Bella Storybook Series to support children in developing life skills to prevent burn injuries and respond if an accident occurs. Even at an early age, children are quite open and receptive to learning about safety and willing to share their new knowledge and skills with friends and family.
The Ben and Bella superheroes use an engaging and interactive storytelling approach that invites children to spot the dangers and fight the burn bandits. Each stand-alone book centres around the three most common causes of burn injury: scalds, contact and flame burns, and teaches children how to identify the causes of burn injury, prevention and simple burn first aid skills.
We have also developed associated teacher guides that align with the Western Australian Kindergarten Curriculum Guidelines the Western Australian Curriculum (P-2) to support teachers in extending children's learning through activities, experiences and discussion points.
We would love to see Ben and Bella in every home, school and early childhood centre library to help educate and develop skills that children will have for life. Thanks to the support of Chevron Australia and their commitment to creating healthier communities the Ben and Bella series has been subsidised to make them accessible to everyone.
- The three-book series and teacher guides inc. post $50
- The three-book series inc. post $45
- A stand-alone book inc. post $25
To join Ben and Bella on their adventures click here.
For further information and burns resources check out the National Burns Awareness Month section on our website here.