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AAP: More Burn Injuries Reported for Children During Pandemic

Average number of burn-injured patients admitted per month increased; peak in difference between 2019 and 2020 seen in July

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FRIDAY, Oct. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in burn injuries among children, especially school-aged children, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held virtually from Oct. 8 to 11.

Amelia Collings, M.D., from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and colleagues examined the impact of stay-at-home orders on the incidence of burn injuries in children using data from nine Level I pediatric trauma centers. Patients injured after implementation of the stay-at-home orders from March through September 2020 (COVID cohort) were compared to historical controls from March to September 2019.

Data were obtained for 13,177 pediatric trauma patients, of whom 987 had burn injuries. The researchers observed a 48.6 percent increase in the total number of children with a burn injury in 2020 versus 2019 (590 versus 397); 94 percent of the burns were explained by unintentional injury. The largest difference in burn injuries between the two cohorts was seen for school-aged children. Over time, there was an increase in the average number of burn-injured patients admitted per month; the difference between 2019 and 2020 peaked in July. The proportion of children sustaining flame burns increased significantly in 2020 versus 2019 (26.1 versus 19.1 percent).

"COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders inevitably created a new dynamic between children and their social environment. One result was the increased risk of burns those children experienced," a coauthor said in a statement. "Understanding specific factors that contributed will be key in minimizing the risk of future burn injuries as we continue to navigate the pandemic environment."

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