Infants at highest risk for childhood burns

February 4, 2014
Infants at highest risk for childhood burns
Hot beverages, hair irons most often the cause, British study found.

(HealthDay)—One-year-old infants are 10 times more likely to suffer burns and scalds than older children, and the main causes of these injuries are hot drinks and hair irons, a new British study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,200 younger than 16 who were treated for burns and scalds at five emergency rooms, one burn-assessment unit and three regional children's burn units across the United Kingdom.

Of those youngsters, 58 percent were scalded, 32 percent had contact burns and about 9 percent had burns from other causes, according to the study. About 17 percent of the children were admitted to a burn unit, and the remainder were treated in an emergency room.

The researchers found that 72 percent of the children were younger than 5, and most of the injuries occurred in 1-year-old infants.

All of the scald injuries were suffered at home, and hot drinks accounted for 55 percent of such injuries among , according to the study, which was published online Feb. 3 in the journal Archives of Diseases in Childhood. In nearly half the cases, a child was scalded when reaching up and pulling down a container with a hot drink—most often tea.

Half of the 155 scalds among youngsters aged 5 to 16 were caused by hot water—mostly from spills while preparing food, said Professor Alison Mary Kemp, of the Institute of Primary Care and Public Health at Cardiff University.

Nearly all the scalds occurred on the front of the body, mostly on the face, arms, and upper torso in younger children and the lower torso, legs and hands in .

There were nearly 300 contact burns suffered by children younger than 5, and 81 percent of those were caused by touching hot items in the home, the researchers found. Hair straighteners or irons accounted for 42 percent of these injuries, followed by stove-top heating elements at 27 percent.

Almost half of the contact burns among older children occurred outdoors. Two-thirds of all contact burns involved the hands.

The researchers said children account for up to half of all burns and scalds treated at hospitals. Such injuries can cause lifelong scarring or deformity or even death.

Product-design changes and increased awareness among parents and other caregivers are among the measures needed to reduce the number of scalds and burns suffered by children, the researchers said.

Explore further: Burn injuries take devastating toll on nation's children

More information: The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about preventing and treating burns.

Related Stories

Burn injuries take devastating toll on nation's children

November 12, 2007

The approach of winter season brings with it an increase in burn-related injuries to our nation’s children. Annually in the United States, fires and burns result in almost 4,000 deaths and more than 745,000 non-hospitalized ...

Microwave ovens need added safety controls

October 6, 2008

Microwave ovens should be equipped with safety controls to prevent children from opening them and being burned by hot foods and drinks, according to a study published today by University of Chicago Medical Center researchers ...

Child burn injuries down significantly (w/ Video)

October 5, 2009

In the next 60 seconds, another child will be on his/her way to the hospital to be treated for serious burns; it happens more than 300 times a day in this country. Now, one of the largest studies ever done on burn injuries ...

Reducing the risk of burns at home

December 11, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Home is where most of us feel safest, but it's also where nearly 80 per cent of all burn injuries occur, new research shows.

Recommended for you

Some youth football drills riskier than others

August 23, 2016

Nearly three quarters of the football players in the U.S. are less than 14 years old. But amid growing concern about concussion risk in football, the majority of the head-impact research has focused on college and professional ...

Babies often put to sleep in unsafe positions

August 15, 2016

(HealthDay)—Despite decades of warnings from the "Back to Sleep" campaign, many parents are still putting their babies to sleep in ways that raise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a new study finds.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.