Burn abuse: a four-year study

J Trauma. 1988 Nov;28(11):1581-3. doi: 10.1097/00005373-198811000-00011.


Data are presented for 139 children assessed for abuse by burning, and findings are contrasted with previous reports in the literature. The results support assertions that burn abuse is most prevalent among children under 3 years of age, and is usually perpetrated by a caretaker who is young, single and poorly educated. The data do not support findings from other studies that boys outnumber girls as victims. Previous reports that immersion burns constitute the major burn type are also contradicted by the present study and results are examined in terms of sampling techniques. A disproportionate number of alleged abusers in this study are female, a finding which is discussed relative to the average age of the victim and the events reported as precipitating abuse. This study indicates that burn abuse is most common in families of two or more children, and that the youngest child is at highest risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Order
  • Burns / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission
  • Single Person