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Burns Often Send Children to the Emergency Room

Researchers say greater educational efforts are needed, especially for parents of young children

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. emergency rooms treat more than 120,000 pediatric burn injuries each year, and children under 6 years of age may be especially likely to sustain serious injuries, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in Pediatrics.

Anjali L. D'Souza, of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed 1990 to 2006 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the study period, the researchers estimated that 2,054,563 children age 20 years and younger -- an average of 120,856 per year -- were treated for burns at emergency departments. They found that boys and children under the age of 6 years accounted for most injuries (58.6 and 57.7 percent, respectively). They also found that thermal burns were the most common cause of injury (59.5 percent). Of the injuries for which location was recorded, the vast majority occurred at home (91.7 percent), and the most commonly affected body areas were hands/fingers and the head/face (36 and 21.1 percent, respectively).

"Educational programs and materials regarding burn prevention should target families with children less than 6 years of age," the authors conclude. "Burn-related injuries are potentially preventable with better education and with better warnings and instructions on consumer products. Although various burn-prevention programs are currently underway, burn-related injuries continue to occur and predominantly affect young children."

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