The burnt child: an epidemiological profile and outcome

J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2011 Nov;21(11):691-4.


Objective: To determine the epidemiologic pattern and outcome of childhood burns by finding the presenting features of the burn victims, causes / circumstances of burn injury, involvement of body area, need for hospitalization, duration of hospital stay and mortality.

Study design: Case series.

Place and duration of study: The Burns Care Centre (BCC), Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad, from January 2008 to June 2010.

Methodology: All children of either gender with burn injuries who were managed at the centre after primarily presenting to the study centre were included. Children over 15 years were excluded. Lund and Browder chart was used to calculate the total body surface area (TBSA) burnt. Children with extensive and critical burns, high voltage electric burns and those needing any surgical interventions were admitted for indoor management. Data were recorded on a proforma.

Results: A total of 1725 children were included in the study. Out of those, 66.84% (n=1153) were males and 33.15% (n=572) were females. The mean age was 5.04 ± 2.78 years. Majority (67.47%) of children were aged 3-6 years. Scalds were the commonest burns (70.31%). Household environment was the commonest site of acquisition of burns (91.47%). Winter was the most frequent season of sustaining burn injury (63%). The commonest anatomic regions affected were hands / upper limbs (65.68%). Overall the affected mean TBSA was 9.37 ± 9.61 %, while for the hospitalized children it was 27.07 ± 10.84%. Two hundred and ninety seven children (17.21%) were admitted. The mean hospital stay was 15.59 ± 5.61 days. The mortality rate was 9.09% for the hospitalized children and 1.56% for the entire study sample.

Conclusion: Male gender, age of 3-6 years and winter season were found to have an increased frequency of childhood burns. Scalds were the commonest type of injuries, and hands/ upper limbs were the most frequently affected body parts. There is a need to revisit the health care system and institute focused burn prevention strategies consistent with our local circumstances.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Burn Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Burns / diagnosis
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Male
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Trauma Severity Indices