Skip to main content
The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

The Burns Service at the WCH provides inpatient and outpatient treatment for children from birth to 16 years who have been injured by burning. We treat around 150 inpatients and 450 outpatients each year from SA, NT and western parts of NSW and Victoria.

Burn injuries are for a lifetime and require specialised care. The Burns Service consists of a multidisciplinary team that works together to ensure optimal patient and family outcomes.

The Burns Service is also involved in prevention programs to assist in lowering the number of paediatric burns, as well as education programs to improve the treatment of burns.

Burn injuries are a common form of trauma in children and have six main causes. First aid is the critical first step for treating a burn.

How to access this service


Burns advice and emergency service – 24 hours

Burns Outpatient Clinics – Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays


Level 2, Good Friday Building


Further information

Burns prevention – Learn Don't Burn

Campfire Safety

Cooking Safety

Hot water burns like fire

Hot surface burns

Treadmill burns

Causes of burns

There are six main causes of burns in children.

  1. Scalds – 60%
    This burn is a result of hot liquid, usually hot tea, coffee or bath water. These burns are most common in the infant-pre school age group. At this age children are very fast and unpredictable in their behaviour.
    Depth: Superficial – Deep
  2. Flame – 25%
    Results from an open flame or explosion. These burns are also associated with flash burns, where the skin is burnt from the heat of the surrounding flames. These burns are most often seen in toddlers playing with matches or teenagers experimenting.
    Depth: Partial – Deep
  3. Contact – 10%
    Burn from touching a hot surface, for example a hot iron or oven door.
    Depth: Superficial – Deep
  4. Electrical – 2%
    Exposure to a live current, for example putting a knife into a power point.
    Depth: Deep
  5. Chemical – 2%
    Contact with a chemical substance. This may be on the skin or swallowed. This includes drinking liquids such as drain cleaner.
    Depth: Partial – Deep
  6. Sun – 1%
    Exposure to excess of the suns ultraviolet rays.
    Depth: Superficial – Partial
Approximate Time for a Serious Scald to Happen to a Child
  • Boiling water from a kettle (100°C)
    < 1 second
  • Cup of tea/coffee (70-95°C)
    < 1 second
  • Hot water from the tap (60°C)
    1 second
  • Hot water from a kettle 5-10 mins after boiling (55°C)
    10 seconds
  • Hot water from a tap with a temp regulator (50°C)
    5 minutes
Burns Presentations by Age

Each year scalds account for approximately 60% of paediatric burns. The type of burns we see vary depending on the age group of the patient.

  • 0–2 years of age
    The most common types of burns are scalds caused by hot cups of tea or coffee. Many of these require skin grafting. Immersions in hot baths also account for a percentage of severe burns in this age group.
  • 2–5 years of age
    Scalds still account for the majority of burns due to hot cups of tea or coffee, as well as water from electric jugs/kettles and teapots. Flame burn also make up a large percentage of burns in this age group from clothes catching alight from open fires or heaters or from the child playing with cigarette lighters or matches.
  • Up to the age of 5 years
    Contact burns frequently occur in winter when a child either falls or touches a heater. The resulting burns are usually to the hands, face or buttocks. Solid fuel heaters are often involved.
  • 5 –16 years of age
    Scalds make up a smaller proportion of burns, burns are more likely due to accidents while cooking or from spilling hot water while having steam inhalations. Flame burns caused by a combination of matches and flammable liquids are common with boys in this age group, and often result in very extensive burns.
First Aid
    For flame burns "Stop, Drop and Roll" – extinguish flame with a blanket.
    Remove clothing to affected areas.
    Use cool running water for 20 minutes to cool the wound. Do not use ice.
    Watches, rings, bracelets and necklaces are a heat source and can cause burning to continue.
    This will keep the wound clean and keep out the air.



  • Burns Advanced Nurse Consultant – (08) 8161 7000 page 4258
  • Burns Fellow – (08) 8161 7000 during hours
  • On-call Surgical Registrar for Burns – (08) 8161 7000 out of hours

Mailing Address

Burns Service
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006


Burns Service Staff Members

Head, Burns Service
Dr Bernard Carney

Burns Advanced Nurse Consultant
Linda Quinn
(08) 8161 7000 pager 4258

Dr Darren Molony
Plastic Surgeon

Dr Michelle Lodge
Plastic Surgeon

Dr Bernard Carney
Plastic Surgeon

Dr Amy Jeeves
Plastic Surgeon

Dr Bhanu Mariyappa
Paediatric Surgeon

Jamila Ansaar
Senior Physiotherapist

Vanessa Timbrell
Occupational Therapist

Liz Davies
Social Worker

Chloe Trapp

For Health Professionals

How to refer to the service

To arrange a referral or a review of digital photos, please call (08) 8161 7000 during business hours and ask for the Burns Nurse Consultant, or after hours, ask for the Burns Registrar.

All referrals require the following burns referral document completed.