-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- 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 children 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
The researchers found that 72 percent of the children were
younger than 5, and most of the injuries occurred in 1-year-old
All of the scald injuries were suffered at home, and hot drinks
accounted for 55 percent of such injuries among young children,
according to the study, which was published online Feb. 3 in the
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 older children.
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.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about
preventing and treating burns.
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