Objective: To examine the variation by age in the rates and causes of burn injury requiring hospitalization during early childhood.
Design and setting: Hospital discharge data and a burn unit admission log were used to identify all children in the Denver (Colo) metropolitan area younger than 5 years who sustained burn injuries and were hospitalized in 1989 and 1990. Patients' medical records were reviewed.
Results: One hundred twenty-two children were identified with burn injuries that required hospitalization, an annual incidence of 40.5 per 100,000 children younger than 5 years. Children aged 6 months through 2 years accounted for 88% of all cases and were seven times more likely to be hospitalized for a burn injury than were children outside this age range. Scalding and contact with hot objects accounted for 64% and 20% of cases, respectively, and occurred primarily in the 6-month through 2-year age group.
Conclusions: The findings underscore the importance of developmental stage as a determinant of risk and type of burn injury. Children aged 6 months through 2 years are at increased risk of severe burn injury and should be targeted for prevention efforts.