Burns in young children: a study of the mechanism of burns in children aged 5 years and under in the Hamilton, Ontario Burn Unit

Burns. 1995 Sep;21(6):463-6. doi: 10.1016/0305-4179(95)00020-c.


This paper explores the burn agents involved among children admitted to the Hamilton General Hospital Burn Trauma Unit (BTU), and the severity of their burns. Charts were retrospectively reviewed for all burn cases aged 5 years and under admitted to the BTU between January 1986 and mid-November 1990. Descriptive statistics and one-way analysis of variance were employed. Of the 52 patients aged 5 years and under, two were excluded from the study. The majority (35, 70 per cent) were aged 2 years and under. The mean burn depth for all patients was equivalent to a deep partial thickness burn. Approximately two-thirds of cases resulted from either the preparation or consumption of food or hot liquids, while the remainder suffered from either flame burns or bath-tub scalds. Children burned during food preparation or consumption were younger (mean age 1.8 years) than those sustaining flame burns (mean age 2.7 years) (P = 0.02). Of those burns sustained from either the preparation or consumption of food, 44 per cent were scalds from a cup of hot beverage at the table, 19 per cent were scalds from an electric kettle, and an equal number from a coffee or tea pot sitting at the table. There was a significant difference in both the mean total body surface area of the burn, and the number of days spent in the BTU, according to the agent involved (P = 0.01 and P = 0.004, respectively). Flame and contact injuries were often the most severe. A disproportionate number of burn victims admitted to hospital are infants and toddlers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Burn Units
  • Burns / diagnosis
  • Burns / etiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ontario
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index