During a 12-month period 239 children who presented with a burn injury at the Emergency Department of a teaching children's hospital in Athens, with city-wide coverage, and 239 gender- and age-matched controls with minor non-injury ailments were interviewed. The questionnaire covered sociodemographic characteristics of the children and their families, information allowing the construction of a burn avoidance index in their homes and items from the Achenback scale that were synthesized into a child activity score. The data were analyzed through conditional logistic regression. In general, socio-demographic variables were not of overwhelming importance, although some of the findings indicate that supervision lapses and barefoot walking of gypsy children increase the risk of burn injuries. The kitchen in an inherently high risk place for injuries and the powerful inverse association of the burn avoidance index with burn injury risk points towards steps that could be easily taken and impart substantial protection. There was no evidence in this study of burn injury proneness or that hyperactivity of the child increased the risk of burn injury; indeed, the results point in the opposite direction. Our results strongly support the view that childhood burn injuries are largely environmentally conditioned and, accordingly, easily preventable.