The changing pattern of pediatric burns

J Burn Care Res. Mar-Apr 2011;32(2):178-84. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31820aada8.


After scalds, flame burns have been considered the next most common mode of burn injury in childhood. Recent experience in the authors' unit suggested that contact burns were becoming more frequent. The authors sought to determine the contemporary frequency of different burn modalities in children presenting to a burns unit. A retrospective review of 3621 children treated in the burns unit, both ambulatory and inpatient, at the authors' institution between January 2003 and December 2007 was performed. Patients were identified using the Burns Unit database. Data collected included age, gender, burn etiology and site, TBSA, and whether operative surgery was required. Of the 3515 patients eligible for inclusion, scalds accounted for 55.9%, contact 30.5%, and flame 7.9% of all burns. Contact burns were shown to be consistently more frequent than flame burns for every year of the study (z = 17.30, P < .001). No seasonal variation was demonstrated amongst contact burns, reflecting the variety of mechanisms involved. The data suggest a change in the historical pattern of pediatric burns previously reported in the literature. These findings have implications for public health awareness and burns prevention campaigns.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Burn Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / etiology
  • Burns / surgery
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Pediatrics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic