Children and Burns

According to the latest data available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consider the following statistics:

  • Accidental, or unintentional, injury is a leading cause of death among children ages 14 and younger.
  • Leading causes of accidental injury at home are burns, drowning, suffocation, choking, poisonings, falls, and fire arms.
  • Burns and fires are the fifth most common cause of accidental death in children and adults, and account for estimated 4,000 adult and child deaths per year.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all scalding burns in children are preventable.
  • Toddlers and children are more often burned by a scalding or flames.
Age Most Common Injury Type Risk Factors
< 5 Years Flame Playing with matches, cigarette lighters, fires in fireplaces, barbecue pits, and trash fires.
Scald

Kitchen injury from tipping scalding liquids.

Bathtub scalds often associated with lack of supervision or child abuse. Greatest number of pediatric burn patients are infants and toddlers younger than 3 years of age burned by scalding liquids.

5 to 10 Years Flame Male children are at an increased risk often due to fire play and risk-taking behaviors.
Scald Female children are at increased risk, with most burns occurring in the kitchen or bathroom.
Adolescent Flame Injury associated with male peer-group activities involving gasoline or other flammable products, such as fireworks.
Electrical Occurs most often in male adolescents involved in dare-type behaviors, such as climbing utility poles or antennas. In rural areas, burns may be caused by moving irrigation pipes that touch an electrical source.

Nutritional needs for a child who has been burned:

A child who has been burned needs a diet higher in calories and proteins to help him/her heal and grow. Your child may have an intravenous (IV) for extra fluids when he/she first comes to the hospital. When your child is more alert and is feeling better, he/she can start to eat.

Most children do not eat as well when they are feeling sick or when they are in the hospital. There are many ways parents can help encourage their to children eat, including the following:

  • Bring your child's favorite foods from home.
  • Serve your child small frequent meals.
  • Praise your child after eating, even if it was only a small amount eaten.
  • Offer your child high-calorie shakes and snacks (ice creams, puddings, and custards). Avoid candy and soda, as they do not contain any nutritional value. The dietitian will help you to set up snacks for your child.
  • Let older children help choose their own meals by filling out their own menus. Also let them help set up their tray.
  • Serve drinks with fun straws in fun cups.

What foods should I give my child?

Give your child a variety of foods that have good nutrients to help the skin heal. Vitamins A and C are important vitamins for the skin. Some foods that have Vitamin A and C are oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, and carrots. Many enriched cereals also contain vitamins. Foods that contain protein such as meat, fish, eggs, peanut butter, chicken, and milk are also important to skin healing.

Consult the child's dietitian for diet and nutritional information.