A Multi-institutional Study Evaluating Pediatric Burn Injuries During the COVID-19 Pandemic

J Burn Care Res. 2023 Mar 2;44(2):399-407. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irac118.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, children were out of school due to Stay-at-Home Orders. The objective of this study was to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the incidence of burn injuries in children. Eight Level I Pediatric Trauma Centers participated in a retrospective study evaluating children <18 years old with traumatic injuries defined by the National Trauma Data Bank. Patients with burn injuries were identified by ICD-10 codes. Historical controls from March to September 2019 ("Control" cohort) were compared to patients injured after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic from March to September 2020 ("COVID" cohort). A total of 12,549 pediatric trauma patients were included, of which 916 patients had burn injuries. Burn injuries increased after the start of the pandemic (COVID 522/6711 [7.8%] vs Control 394/5838 [6.7%], P = .03). There were no significant differences in age, race, insurance status, burn severity, injury severity score, intent or location of injury, and occurrence on a weekday or weekend between cohorts. There was an increase in flame burns (COVID 140/522 [26.8%] vs Control 75/394 [19.0%], P = .01) and a decrease in contact burns (COVID 118/522 [22.6%] vs Control 112/394 [28.4%], P = .05). More patients were transferred from an outside institution (COVID 315/522 patients [60.3%] vs Control 208/394 patients [52.8%], P = .02), and intensive care unit length of stay increased (COVID median 3.5 days [interquartile range 2.0-11.0] vs Control median 3.0 days [interquartile range 1.0-4.0], P = .05). Pediatric burn injuries increased after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic despite Stay-at-Home Orders intended to optimize health and increase public safety.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Burns* / epidemiology
  • Burns* / etiology
  • Burns* / therapy
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Pandemics
  • Retrospective Studies