Background: Infants, toddlers and preschoolers are the highest risk group for burn injury. However, to date this population has been largely neglected. This study examined the prevalence, onset, comorbidity and recovery patterns of posttrauma reactions in young children with burns.
Methods: Parents of 130 unintentionally burned children (1-6 years) participated in the study. The Diagnostic Infant Preschool Assessment was conducted with parents at 1 and 6 months postinjury.
Results: The majority of children were resilient. However, 35% were diagnosed with at least one psychological disorder, there was a high rate of comorbidity with posttraumatic stress disorder, and 8% of children did not experience recovery in distress levels over the course of 6 months.
Conclusions: These outcomes are likely to have serious repercussions for a young child's medical and psychosocial recovery as well as their normal developmental trajectories. It is recommended that screening, prevention and early intervention resources are incorporated into paediatric health care settings to optimise children's psychological adjustment following burn injury.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2011 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.