Thirty-five years of paediatric scalds: are lessons being learned?

Br J Plast Surg. 1995 Mar;48(2):103-5. doi: 10.1016/0007-1226(95)90105-1.


All paediatric scalds admitted in 1991 to the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery have been analysed retrospectively and the results compared with similar studies from this centre reported in 1956 and 1984. This data was compared with similar reports from 6 other world-wide centres. Despite a modest population increase in Wales, the number of admissions has increased almost 50% in 35 years. Boys are more commonly affected and up to 67% of scalds occur in children under 2 years of age. The number of scalds from teapots has fallen from 20.8% to 2.7%, in contrast to scalds from cups of hot liquid which have increased from 8.9% to 42.5% over the 35-year period. Scalds from hot baths are rare in Holland and Denmark, in contrast to a 15.8% incidence in our centre. Hot kettles are a common cause of scalds, accounting for up to 28% of scalds in all the series reviewed. The incidence of this injury has not decreased over the last 35 years. Recommendations are made about improved health and safety education for parents, the use of coiled kettle flexes, the temperature of stored water which should not exceed 60 degrees C, and the fitting of thermostatic mixer taps to new houses and institutions, in an effort to decrease the incidence of paediatric scalds.

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention*
  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Distribution
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / etiology
  • Burns / prevention & control
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wales / epidemiology