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September 9, 1974

Motor Vehicle-Related Burns

Author Affiliations

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery Department of Surgery The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston

JAMA. 1974;229(11):1474. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230490062031

While the motor vehicle is not generally recognized by the public as a source of burn injuries, safety researchers have estimated that 3,500 people die yearly in motor vehicle accidents accompanied by fire,1 while another 100,000 are burned and survive.2 It is unknown how many burns occur nationally in or around the stationary vehicle.

In a review of the records at the Galveston Shriners Burns Institute from 1966 to 1973, it was found that the motor vehicle was the causative or contributing factor in 3% of the general burn population. The vast majority of these burns were attributed to either gasoline spillage in a moving vehicular accident, or to the unattended small child playing with matches in a stationary vehicle. A common feature that increased the morbidity and mortality in the moving- and stationary-vehicle fire accidents was their occurrence in a confined space.

Children who were burned while