Accidental burns increased for children at home during pandemic
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when many children were staying at home for school and were potentially unsupervised, kids experienced greater risk of accidental injuries, including burns.
The study abstract, "A Multi-Institutional Study Evaluating Pediatric Burn Injuries During the COVID-19 Pandemic," to be presented at the virtual American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, collected data about burn injuries from nine trauma centers and found that burn injuries for children grew significantly in 2020, when most children were schooling from home, compared to the same period in 2019.
"COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders inevitably created a new dynamic between children and their social environment. One result was the increased risk of burns those children experienced," said Christina Georgeades, MD, an abstract author and a Pediatric Surgery Research Fellow at Children's Wisconsin. "Understanding specific factors that contributed will be key in minimizing the risk of future burn injuries as we continue to navigate the pandemic environment."
The total number of children with burn injuries increased by 32.5%, up to a total of 522 patients at the nine trauma centers in 2020, compared to 394 patients at the same centers in 2019. This may have been due to school closures that caused children to spend more time in their homes, which is where most burns occur.
Researchers believe that fireworks could have potentially played a part in the increase in burn injuries. Though all types of burns increased, the biggest increase between 2019 and 2020 were burns from exposure to open fire which would include firework-related injuries. Also, burn injuries spiked in July, which is a month when firework injuries are very common due to the Independence Day holiday. Finally, professional firework shows were canceled across the country in 2020, which may have driven an increased interest in amateur fireworks with a consequent increase in the risk of associated burn injuries.
Dr. Georgeades will present the study abstract at 10:24 a.m. CT on Sunday, October 10, 2021.