Socio-demographic factors and the prevalence of burns in children: an overview of the literature

Paediatr Int Child Health. 2016 Feb;36(1):45-51. doi: 10.1179/2046905514Y.0000000157. Epub 2014 Oct 13.


Background: In most countries, socio-demographic factors influence the incidence of burns in children. The aims of this literature review were therefore to identify which of those factors are linked to an increase in the prevalence and identify ways of enhancing burn prevention programmes and preventing practices which play a role in the occurrence of burns in children.

Method: A comprehensive search (no time limit) of primary studies, titles and abstracts was undertaken in the following electronic databases; MEDLINE, CINAHL, ERIC, Cochrane Library, PsychInfo and Google Scholar.

Results: Socio-demographic factors which were linked to an increased incidence of burns include low household income, living in deprived areas, living in rented accommodation, young mothers, single-parent families and children from ethnic minorities. The level of parental education, parental occupation, and the type and size of accommodation were also cited.

Conclusion: A range of socio-demographic factors result in an increase in the prevalence of burns, and the risk is even greater in children who are exposed to a number of these factors. Such information will be useful for planning prevention strategies and identifying further research questions that need to be answered.

Keywords: Burns; Child; Epidemiology; Fire; Poverty; Prevention; Scalds; Socio-demographic factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors