Pediatric burn rates down in recent years

By Tom Nordlie • Published: January 6th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Here’s some news that should make every parent breathe a sigh of relief… the incidence of U-S childhood burn injuries dropped by one-third between 1990 and 2006.

That’s according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.

It was the first comprehensive survey of burn trends among pediatric populations.

Researchers began by examining data from about sixty-two-thousand patients age twenty and younger, who were treated for non-fatal burn injuries in one-hundred hospitals.

These institutions provided a nationally representative sample, enabling researchers to make projections.

The incidence of burns dropped from seventeen cases per ten-thousand youngsters in 1990 to twelve cases per ten-thousand in 2006.

Kids age five and younger accounted for about sixty percent of the total cases.

As for the method of injury, more than half the cases arose from thermal burns, caused by flames or hot surfaces.

Hands and fingers were the body parts most often injured, followed by the head and face.

Among cases where the locale was known, about ninety percent of burns took place in the home.

One interesting trend… sunburn injuries were ten times more common among adolescents ages sixteen to twenty than among younger patients.

This suggests sun protection is often ignored by older teens.

Among the youngest patients, scalding injuries from bath water were very common. So were thermal burns from kitchen appliances.

Unfortunately, the study didn’t provide insight to one important metric… why did injury rates decline?

For parents, the take-home message is simply this: Educate yourselves and your kids about burn prevention.

That’s a sure-fire way to avoid becoming a statistic.