During the period January 1988 to December 1989, medically treated burn injuries in The Netherlands were recorded prospectively by three registration systems. These systems cover patients treated in burn units, in general and university hospitals, and by general practitioners. Incidence rates and 95 per cent confidence intervals were calculated, and basic epidemiological data about severity and localization of the burns and about accident circumstances were collected. The overall incidence rate of medically treated burns over all levels of medical care is estimated to be about 280 per 100,000 persons per year. This overall incidence figure appeared to be about three times as high for 0-4-year-old children: 775 per 100,000 per year. At all levels of medical care, scalds are the most frequent type of burn, resulting in an overall incidence rate among 0-4-year-old children of 430 per 100,000 per year. Incidence rates are lowest among the elderly (55 years and over), but this age group suffers a higher mortality from burns. Furthermore, it appeared that males are more prone to serious burns than females, whereas female are more often treated for less severe burns. Most of the accident circumstances for serious burns were related to professions, whereas most of the circumstances for less severe burns were related to household activities.