288 children require admission to an NHS Burns Service every month

The International Burn Injury Database (iBID) set up by Children’s Burns Trust Trustee Mr Ken Dunn BSc FRCS(Lond) FRCS(plast) FRCS(ed), Consultant Burns and Plastic Surgeon provides us with some alarming facts and figures of the burns and scalds that are happening every day in the UK.

Child reaching for saucepan

This years National Burn Awareness Day is being held on the 19th October and is designed to raise awareness of these horrifying injuries, many of which could have been prevented:

  • 288 children a month require admission to an NHS Burns Service following injury with hot liquids (this figure only relates to the more serious scalds – it does not include the thousands seen by A&E departments)
  • Sunburn is a notable cause of injury in the 5 – 14 year age group.
  • In the over 65’s the pattern of injury is similar to that for children – but with a greater number of central heating radiator contact injuries and too hot bathing immersions.
  • The average cost to the NHS for a major burn is £168,155 – but what is the cost to the individual and their family?
  • 5,195 children under the age of 5 were so badly burnt that they had to be admitted to a NHS specialist burns service in 2015 – more than 14 toddlers every single day.
  • Hot drinks are the most common cause of scald injury in children – followed by contact with electric cookers, hair straighteners, irons and central heating radiators.
  • Hair straighteners reach over 220°c and take up to 40 minutes to cool down – more than 250 children a year are treated for severe burns from them.
  • A significant number of adult injuries resulted from hot fat, barbecues, garden fires and bonfires.
  • The majority of injuries, especially to children and the elderly, occur between 3 and 6pm.
  • The most common place of injury is the home for children (77%) and the elderly (81%). For adults it’s the workplace.
  • There is a clearly defined relationship between high rates of burn injuries and areas of social deprivation.

The iBID is a collaboration between the Burn Services of England and Wales and NHS England. In 2015/16 twenty two hospitals providing burn care contributed to the figures above. They do not include burn injuries seen in emergency departments or admitted to hospitals that are not specialised burn services. Estimates of burn injuries seen in Emergency Departments (EDs) by collecting detailed information from a small number of Emergency Departments suggest that over 110 children per day are seen in Emergency Departments in the UK with burn injuries – one third of all injuries seen each day. The vast majority of all these injuries are preventable.

For more information and to raise awareness on National Burn Awareness Day please click here.

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