Patterns of scald injuries in children--has anything changed?
The objective was to study presentation patterns of scald injuries in children and suggest potential countermeasures to reduce these injuries. We retrospectively studied scald injuries in children attending an urban paediatric emergency department between January 1st and December 31st 2008. Data was extracted from our emergency department database using search terms 'burn', 'scald', 'other burn'. Scalds were analysed for; age at presentation, sex, time of presentation, causal agent, scald outcome and treatment required. Burns accounted for 280 (0.66%) of total attendees, 161 (57%) were scalds. 127 (79%) were under 5 years old (mean age 42 months). 104 (65%) were caused by hot beverages, 25 (16%) hot water and 16 (10%) hot food stuffs. 97 (60%) presented within 1 hour of injury. 40 (25%) received first aid. The most affected areas were upper limbs 79 (35%) and upper trunk 74 (33%). Overall 45 (28%) were discharged home requiring no further treatment, 9 (6%) were admitted to hospital and 101 (63%) attended dressing clinic or plastic surgery OPD. Our results are consistent with other studies and illustrate that the incidence and pattern of scald injuries have not changed over the past decade. Scalds will continue to be a significant cause of unintentional injury and morbidity among young children unless preventative strategies are devised and employed.