Background: Severe burns in children can result in prolonged suffering, disability, disfigurement, and in impaired physical and mental development. Hospitalization rates of children with burns are much higher than for children with other trauma. Therefore, various child burn prevention programs have been implemented, but their efficacy has been evaluated only by assessment of knowledge or satisfaction rather than evaluating actual changes in burn-related hospitalizations. Our objective was to map Israeli child burn prevention programs and to measure their success from the rate of burn-related hospitalizations.
Methods: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted of organizations participating in injury prevention programs. Official data was obtained on burn-related hospitalizations of children aged 0-4 and 5-14 for 1998 and 2000, and was correlated with the existence or absence of injury prevention programs, and with the population's socio-economic status (SES).
Results: In localities with burn prevention programs, there was a reduction in the rate of burn-related hospitalizations of infants, from 1.39 to 1.05 per 1000 infants (p<0.05), in contrast to localities where programs did not exist. The greatest change was in middle and high socio-economic communities. The prevention programs had no similar effects on school-aged children.
Conclusion: Injury prevention programs are effective in reducing burn-related hospitalizations among infants and toddlers, especially from more affluent communities, but not among school-aged children.