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June 1990

The Causes, Cost, and Prevention of Childhood Burn Injuries

Author Affiliations

From the San Francisco Injury Center for Research and Prevention, San Francisco (Calif) General Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(6):677-683. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150300075020

• In 1985, fire and/or burn injuries killed 1461 children aged 0 to 19 years in the United States; an estimated 23 638 children were hospitalized and 440 000 were treated for burns. More than 101 000 life years were lost. A "cost of burn injury" model suggests a dollar value of societal losses from childhood burn deaths and injuries at approximately $3.5 billion. Very young children (0 to 4 years) dying in house fires accounted for 47% of these deaths. Preventing fire deaths through residential sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire-safe cigarettes, and child-resistant lighters would prevent more than three quarters of all childhood fire/burn deaths. While interventions exist for tap water scalds, solutions to the problems of "kitchen" scalds and gasoline-involved flame burns are less apparent.

(AJDC. 1990;144:677-683)