Discharge Instructions: Unna Boot (Pediatric)

Your child will be going home with an Unna boot in place. An Unna boot is a dressing and wrap combination that is applied from the foot to the knee. An Unna boot has a special medicine in the gauze to help heal burns or skin sores and protect new skin. There are two kinds of bandages: white and pink. The white bandage is changed every 1 to 3 days. In most cases, the pink bandage is changed 1 time a week. Your child will need to visit the healthcare provider to have the Unna boot changed. Here’s what you need to know about home care.

Home care

Some dos and don'ts:

  • Make sure your child does not get the Unna boot wet.

  • Cover the dressing completely with a plastic bag before your child takes a shower. Tape the plastic to the skin or use a rubber band above and below the dressing.

  • If your child needs to take a tub bath, have your child dangle the limb with the Unna boot on the side of the tub and out of the water.

  • Take the plastic bag off hen your child is done with his or her shower or bath.

  • Keep your child’s skin clean and dry.

  • Every day, wash any other burns or sores not covered by a dressing.

  • Remember, some drainage from the Unna boot dressing is expected. Don’t be alarmed if the soiled dressing has an unpleasant odor to it. This is normal. It happens because the drainage from the wound dries to the dressing.

  • Don’t allow your child to stand or sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time.

  • Keep your child’s legs elevated using pillows, as much as possible. This will help keep swelling down.


Make a follow-up appointment, or as advised.

When to call your child’s healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Tingling or numbness in the injured body part

  • Fever (see Fever and children, below)

  • Severe pain that can't be relieved

  • Decreased ability to move extremity in the Unna boot

  • Unna boot that feels too tight or too loose

  • Swelling, coldness, or blue-gray color in the toes

  • Drainage from Unna boot that smells different than usual

  • Unna boot that is damaged or has rough edges that hurt

  • Unna boot that gets wet

  • New blisters of ulcers

Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead (temporal artery), or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.