Paediatric burn injuries are common, especially in children younger than 5 years, and can lead to poor physical and psychosocial outcomes in the long term. In this Review, we aim to summarise the key factors and interventions before hospital admission and following discharge that can improve the long-term outcomes of paediatric burns. Care can be optimised through first aid treatment, correct initial assessment of burn severity, and appropriate patient referral to a burns centre. Scar prevention or treatment and patient follow-up after discharge are also essential. As most burn injuries in children are comparatively small and readily survivable, this Review does not cover the perioperative management associated with severe burns that require fluid resuscitation, or inhalational injury. Burns disproportionately affect children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and those living in low-income and middle-income countries, with ample evidence to suggest that there remains scope for low-cost interventions to improve care for those patients with the greatest burden of burn injury. Current knowledge gaps and future research directions are discussed.