Ethnic differences in burn mechanism and severity in a UK paediatric population

Burns. 2012 Jun;38(4):551-5. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2011.10.005. Epub 2011 Nov 10.


Background: Burns in children are a major public health problem with long-lasting physical and psychological sequelae. Previous studies have identified that children from ethnic minorities have higher rates of burns.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyse the differences in paediatric burn mechanism and severity within different ethnic groups.

Methods: Demographic and burn data from all paediatric patients presenting with burn at the Burns Service, Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK were collected over a 5 year period.

Results: 766 paediatric patients (age range: 7 days to 16 years old, mean: 4.5 years) were included in the study. Ethnic minority children had higher total body surface area of burn (p<0.001) and length of stay (p<0.001) compared with non-ethnic minority children. Chinese children had most burns from hot food (60%), whereas non-ethnic minority children had most burns from hot beverages (35.8%). Ethnic minority children were more deprived compared with non-ethnic minority children (Index of Multiple Deprivation 48.7 vs. 40.9; p=0.02).

Conclusion: These results show that there are significant differences in the patterns of burns in ethnic minority groups. This data should guide targeted public health prevention and educational strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Body Surface Area
  • Burns / ethnology*
  • Burns / etiology
  • Burns / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology