Burns and its related injuries are major causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, especially in children. Children are people below the age of responsibility; meaning they have to be taken care of by responsible adults, most of the time their parents or guardians.

It is always disheartening for me to see a six-month-old child report to my ward with the face, neck and abdomen burnt beyond recognition. Moments after many child burn cases, most parents will rush to the health facility filled with self-pity and concern for the child, which could have been avoided if they were just a little more responsible in taken care of the child. Others will rush to seek traditional treatment, which is most of the time detrimental and could lead to septic burns considering the substance that are applied on burn.

Substances like rabbit fur and leaves that come from the locust bean tree (netteh) are applied on the superficial layer of the area were the burns occurred allowing micro-organism to settle and causing some serious infection, eventually septic burns. When burns occur these three things mostly affect its victims:

  1. INFECTION: An uncontrolled growth of harmful micro-organisms, which if you are in a health facility will be taken care of by daily dressing but I can’t say that about traditional treatment.
  2. HYPOTHERMIA: Lowered core body temperature as a result of the heat loss caused by the burn.
  3. DEHYDRATION: Loss of fluid as a result of the burn. Fluid replacement is done for the poor children when they report to the health facility.

Based on the three listed above, no parent should take their children for traditional treatment when they get burnt either accidentally or intentionally. Considering the psychological trauma associated with burns due to the scars especially on the face, as parents, if we don’t want our kids to hate us for the rest of their lives, let’s be a little more careful during this short period called childhood. Remember children are people below the age of responsibility.