Burns for contact with irons are an important preventable cause of burns in children. The objective of this study, was to document and describe these burns. The report describes 50 children with iron burns who were treated at our Burns Unit between 1997 and 2001.
Methods: Prospective data collection demographics, nature of contact with iron, site, body surface area (BSA), medical and surgical interventions and complications and hand preference were examined.
Results: The median of age patients was 17 months. The majority of burns were caused by touching the iron (44%) or by pulling the cord (38%). Most of the children were supervised (74%) and the iron was switched off in 34% of the injuries. Seventy-six percent of children sustained hand burns. Although, burn areas were relatively small, 36% required grafting. Residual scarring occurred in 42% and contractures in 10%. Surgical release of contractures was required in 4%.
Conclusion: There is clearly a wide scope for prevention of hot iron burns. A public education campaign is now planned including: leaflets distributed at the point of purchase of the iron, public education via media outlets and lobbying of iron manufacturers to improve safety features.