Adult thermal injuries in New Zealand resulting in death and hospitalization

Burns. 1998 May;24(3):245-51. doi: 10.1016/s0305-4179(98)00018-7.


This paper provides an overview of thermal injury resulting in death or hospitalization in New Zealand adults, defined as age 15 years and over. For the 10-year period 1978-1987, there were 493 adult thermal injury deaths resulting in an overall rate of 2.1 per 100000 person-years (95%CI: 1.9-2.3). For the year 1988, there were 644 hospitalizations resulting in a rate of 25.1 per 100000 (95%CI: 23.2-27.1). The highest rates of death and hospitalization were observed in the elderly (65 years of age and over). Young males (15-29 years) also had a very high rate of hospitalization. Residential fire was the most common type of burn event resulting in death (44%), and smoking materials were the most common source of ignition in fatal residential fires (37%). Hot liquids were the most common source of thermal energy for the hospitalized injuries (34%). Typical scenarios involved burns from hot water expelled from automobile radiators, from hot water use in the workplace, from hot beverages, and from household hot tap-water. The epidemiology of the adult thermal injuries in New Zealand is similar to that reported in other developed countries. Opportunities and strategies for the prevention of these injuries are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Burns / etiology
  • Burns / mortality*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate