Previous studies based on either single hospital data or sampling of specific groups of hospitalized burns victims in Taiwan have provided only minimal epidemiological information. The study is designed to provide additional data on the epidemiology of hospitalized burns patients in Taiwan. Data were obtained from the Burn Injury Information System (BIIS), which brings together information supplied by 34 contracted hospitals. The study time course spanned a 2-year period from July 1997 to June 1999. Patient characteristics (age, sex, education level, etc.), causes and severity of injuries, and medical care measures were explored. A total of 4741 patients were registered with BIIS over the study period. The majority of hospitalized patients (67%) were male. The age distribution of burns patients showed peaks occurring at the age groups of 0-5 and 35-44 years. Over the time course of a day, burn injuries occurred more frequently from 10:00 to 12:00 h and 16:00 to 18:00 h. Injuries suspected as the result of suicide, homicide or child abuse accounted for 4.8% of hospitalized cases. More than 48% of the burns occurred in the home. The leading type of burn injury was scalding, followed by naked flame, explosion, electrical burns, and chemical burns due to caustic or corrosive substances. The mean percent total body surface area (%TBSA) for adults was 19%, and for young children was 12%. The average length of hospital stay was 18 days. In conclusion, children under 5 years and adults between 35 and 44 years of age are two high-risk groups for burn injuries. Corresponding to meal preparation time, hot substances such as boiling water, hot soup, etc. are the most common agents responsible for scalds. Prevention programs for reducing the risk of burn injuries during cooking and eating are required, especially for parents with young children.