Epidemiology and disposition of burn injuries among infants presenting to a tertiary-care pediatric emergency department

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Nov;27(11):1022-6. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318235e0e4.


Objective: The objective of the study was to study the etiology of and factors determining the emergency department disposition of infants sustaining burn injuries.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on all patients 12 months or younger with a burn injury presenting to our emergency department over a 5-year period. We collected the chief complaint and diagnosis, patient demographics, and circumstances surrounding the burn injury from the emergency department charts. Univariable statistics, multiple imputation, and multivariable regression were performed to determine differences between races and factors leading to admission.

Results: During the study period, 344 patients meeting inclusion criteria were treated in our emergency department. Scalds (53.2%) and contact burns (39.8%) were the most common causes of burns among the study group. Significant differences were observed between races for mechanism of burn, interhospital transport, and total body surface area affected (P < 0.05). White patients were more likely to have higher body surface affected and to be transferred from another facility (P < 0.05). Increased severity of burn, burns located on the hand, and concern for abuse resulted in higher likelihood of admission (P < 0.01). No significant differences in disposition or mechanism of burn were present between English-speaking and non-English-speaking patients.

Conclusions: Although most infant burns in our emergency department are due to scalds, burn injuries due to contact with household objects are common. Race plays a significant role in mechanism and severity of burn sustained. Increased severity of burn, concern for abuse, and burn to the hand were all associated with increased odds of admission.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / ethnology
  • Burns / etiology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • District of Columbia / epidemiology
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Urban / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language
  • Male
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data