Scalds in children caused by water from electrical kettles: effect of prevention through information

Burns. 1998 Aug;24(5):420-4. doi: 10.1016/s0305-4179(98)00040-0.


Electrical kettles (el-kettles) were virtually unknown in Danish households in the mid-1980s, but have since become more common. In 1996, (65 per cent of all Danish households had an el-kettle. As the number of el-kettles have increased, so have the number of scalds caused by water from toppled el-kettles. The first patient with an el-kettle scald was admitted to the Burns Centre at Hvidovre hospital in 1988. From 1988 to 1993 29 patients were admitted with this type of scald; 15 patients in 1993 alone. All the patients were toddlers 5-30 months of age. When el-kettle scalds were compared to scalds caused by other mechanisms in children under 5 years of age, it was found that the former occurred to younger children than the latter (60 per cent of el-kettle scalded children were less than 1 year of age compared to 28 per cent scalded by other means), the scalds were more extensive (median of TBSA were 13 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively), and the scalds were deeper (53 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, needed skin-grafting). In 1993 campaigns were started to inform parents that the cord of the el-kettle should be short and not hang over the edge of the table. In the following years a considerable decrease in the number of el-kettle scalds was found. When the number of expected el-kettle scalds was estimated from the number of Danish households having an el-kettle, it was found that more than half the expected number of el-kettle scalds were avoided.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / classification
  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Distribution
  • Burn Units
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Burns / etiology
  • Burns / prevention & control*
  • Burns / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cooking
  • Data Collection
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution