Scald burns in young children—a review of Arizona burn center pediatric patients and a proposal for prevention in the Hispanic community

Ruth B Rimmer, Shannon Weigand, Kevin N Foster, Michelle M Wadsworth, Katie Jacober, Marc R Matthews, David Drachman, Daniel M Caruso
Journal of Burn Care & Research: Official Publication of the American Burn Association 2008, 29 (4): 595-605
Arizona Burn Center staff observed an increasing number of pediatric scald burn admissions. Therefore, a retrospective study was conducted to identify scald demographics and etiologies. Focus groups were subsequently conducted to determine burn prevention knowledge in the target community. Arizona Burn Center scald admission variables (ages 0-5 years) reviewed included age, sex, ethnicity, TBSA, body parts burned, occurrence month and location, caregiver present, child and caregiver activities when injured, payor source, length of stay, parental language, and zip code. High-risk zip code area focus groups were then conducted. There were a total of 170 pediatric patients, aged 0 to 5 years, admitted to the burn center during 2005 to 2006. Of this total, 124 of the patients were admitted for scald burns, accounting for 59% of all pediatric burn admissions. Scald burn patient's demographics included male (52%), female (48%) with a mean age of 1.7 years. Majority ethnicity was Hispanic (63%). The mean TBSA was 8% with mean length of stay of 8 days. The remaining pediatric admissions for children aged 0 to 5 were for burns caused by fire or flame 15%, contact with a hot object 13%, friction burns 7%, chemical burns 3%, and electrical burns 3%. Demographics for the combined etiologies included an identical sex breakdown with male (52%) and female (48%). The majority ethnicity in the nonscald group was also Hispanic at 59% with a mean length of stay of 7 days and an average TBSA of 9.5%. Main etiologies of scald burns included hot water (25%), soup (24%), and coffee or tea (21%). Most common child behaviors were pulling hot substance from stove (24%), from countertop (13%), and having liquid spilled on them (13%) typically while caregiver was cooking. Mean TBSA was 8% with mean length of stay (8 days). Scalds occurred in the kitchen (83%) and mainly in child's home (94%). Mother was primary caregiver (78%). Payor source was Medicaid (86%) and the average admission cost was dollars 60,075. Only 36% of parents spoke Spanish as their primary language. Scalds (43%) usually occurred during year's first quarter (P < .001). Focus group participants (85%) reported receiving no prior burn prevention education and preferred to receive prevention instruction in small groups through established community agencies. Results suggest that culturally sensitive, bilingual scald prevention education, targeting Hispanics, is needed to create awareness of the frequency, severity, and danger associated with pediatric scalds.

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