A Rapid Review of Burns First Aid Guidelines: Is There Consistency Across International Guidelines?

Michael McLure, Finlay McNeil, Fiona Melanie Wood, Leila Cuttle, Kathryn J Eastwood, Janet Bray, Lincoln M Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We conducted a rapid review of current international and Australian/New Zealand guidelines on first aid for burns to identify any critical variation and any recent major changes in the literature that would warrant a significant change to current recommendations. A search was conducted to identify Australian/New Zealand and international first aid guidelines for burn care using guideline databases, and we compared key recommendations from each guideline relating to burns first aid. A literature search of relevant databases (Medline, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PROSPERO international register of systematic reviews, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases) was conducted to identify existing and in-progress research published on the topic of first aid for burn injuries. Seven guidelines were identified from the Australia/New Zealand region, and 11 international guidelines were identified from the United States of America and Europe. All Australian and New Zealand guidelines recommended a cooling duration of 20 minutes and made some mention of when to refer a burn for medical evaluation, while international guidelines saw cooling duration variation, a number of guidelines failed to mention referral criteria. The review of published systematic reviews and clinical trials revealed a lack of new evidence in the last six years. Our rapid review identified key variation between first aid guidelines for burns that would benefit from the development of an international consensus on management. We identified no new significant evidence that would alter guideline recommendations and did not identify any upcoming reviews or clinical trials on this subject.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15779
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2021


  • rapid review
  • burn first aid
  • guideline
  • burns and scalds
  • international guidelines

Cite this