Majority of Pediatric Burn Admissions Due to Scalding

Annual 2.3 percent decrease in hospitalization rate for children under 5 in Western Australia

TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Although admission rates for burn injury declined from 1983 to 2008, more than half of burn-injury hospital admissions for children younger than 5 years of age in Western Australia are due to scalding, according to a study published online March 7 in Pediatrics.

Janine Duke, Ph.D., from Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and colleagues used state-wide linked health-administrative data to assess the incidence of burn injuries in children younger than 5 years old in Western Australia between 1983 and 2008. A total of 5,398 hospitalizations for burn injury and three burn-related deaths were identified. Temporal trends and external causes of burn injury were analyzed.

The investigators identified an annual average decrease of 2.3 percent in hospital admission rates for burn injuries among children younger than 5 years old. Hospitalizations decreased for injuries due to scald, flame, contact, and electrical burns, with more than half of the hospital admissions for children with scald burns. The number of chemical burns-related admissions increased during the study period.

"Although hospitalizations have declined from 1983, this pediatric population continues to be at high risk of burn-injury hospitalizations. The burn-injury hospitalizations reported in this study were preventable," the authors write. "Further efforts should be devoted to burn prevention and safety strategies, particularly targeting parents and caregivers of young children, to further reduce the incidence of burn injury in this pediatric population."

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