Bizarre paediatric facial burns

Burns. 2000 Aug;26(5):504-6. doi: 10.1016/s0305-4179(00)00003-6.


Child abuse and neglect account for a significant number of paediatric burn injuries. It is of great importance because of the high mortality, high frequency of repeated abuse, as well as the physical, psychological and social sequelae that it causes. Burn abuse is often under-recognized and under-reported because it is difficult to define non-accidental injury. On the other hand, false accusation of burn abuse is extremely damaging to the family. Bizarre and unusual burn injuries can be caused by accident and should not automatically be assumed to be deliberate injury. Three boys of age 1-7 years with bizarre facial burns were admitted to the Burns Unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital between February 1995 and July 1999. One was burned by his baby-sitter with hot water steam and the other two were burned by their mothers with hot boiled eggs. The unusual causes of their burns raised the suspicion of child abuse and formal investigations were carried out by the Social Services Department. Detail assessment including a developmental history of the child and the psychosocial assessment of the family revealed that these three boys were burned because of poor medical advice and innocent cultural belief.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Burns / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contusions / therapy
  • Cough / therapy
  • Culture
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Facial Injuries / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Self Care / adverse effects
  • Steam / adverse effects


  • Steam