Nutrition and Burns
Nutritional needs for a child who has been burned
A child who has been burned needs a diet higher in calories and proteins to help him or her heal and grow. Your child may have an IV (intravenous line) for extra fluids and possibly feeding when he or she first comes to the hospital. It's also possible that your child will be fed through a tube inserted through the nose that extends to the stomach (nasogastric tube). When your child is more alert and is feeling better, he or she can start to eat.
Most children don't eat as well when they are feeling sick or when they are in the hospital. After approval from your child's doctor, there are many ways parents can help encourage their children to eat, including:
Bring your child's favorite foods from home.
Serve your child small frequent meals.
Praise your child after eating, even if it was only a small amount eaten.
Offer your child high-calorie shakes and snacks (ice creams, puddings, and custards). Don't offer candy and soda, as they don't have any nutritional value. The dietitian will help you to set up snacks for your child.
Let older children help choose their own meals by filling out their own menus. Also let them help set up their tray.
Serve drinks with fun straws in fun cups.
What foods should I give my child?
Getting enough nutrition is one of the keys to managing burns. Give your child a variety of foods that have good nutrients to help the skin heal. Vitamins A and C are important vitamins for the skin. Some foods that have Vitamin A and C are oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, and carrots. Many enriched cereals also contain vitamins. Foods that contain protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, peanut butter, chicken, and milk, are also important to skin healing. If your child is able to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, they don't need vitamins or supplements unless specifically recommended by your child's healthcare provider.
Talk with the child's dietitian for diet and nutritional information, including dietary needs after discharge from the hospital. Make a list of your questions, and questions your child has, and make certain they are answered before you go home.