The global incidence of hospitalized paediatric burn patients is unknown. In order to determine a working estimate of the size of the problem, one approach is to extrapolate from relevant published studies. A literature search of the Medline database was performed to identify epidemiological papers published since 1990, which addressed paediatric burn admissions. Extrapolation from population-based studies allowed global figures to be estimated. The highest incidence of hospitalized paediatric burns patients is in Africa, the lowest in the Americas. Europe, the Middle East and Asia share similar figures, but the considerably larger population of Asia indicates that it bears over half of the world's paediatric burn population. It is unfortunate that despite many published studies describing burn admission, few meet criteria that allow for comparative epidemiological data. More attention needs to be focused on uniformity in data collection and presentation to enhance the value of the data available.