Aim This retrospective study aims to highlight and analyse the population of patients attending a paediatric burns unit.
Method An existing database was used to obtain patient information regarding all attendances to the burns unit over a period of three months (July–September 2013). Further data was then collected from electronic medical notes regarding age, sex, mechanism of burn, first aid applied prior to attending hospital, percentage and depth of burn, analgesia used, paediatric team reviews and social concerns.
Results This retrospective study was carried out on 62 patients who attended the burns unit over a period of 3 months (July–September 2013). 74% of patients were admitted. Approximately 57% of these spent two or more days in hospital.
Median age at presentation was 2 years (range 0–15 years). Majority (55%) of the patients were girls.
71% of all burns were scalds, 11% contact burns with hot objects, 6% caused by flames, 5% friction burns from accidents on treadmills, and the remaining 7% accounted for flash, chemical and sunburn. Of the burns caused by scalds, 70% were from the child pulling a hot liquid onto themselves, 14% were from hot water taps, 9% from pulling over hot kettles, the remaining 7% were immersion and splash burns.
85% had some form of first aid applied at the scene, prior to attending hospital (the affected area was usually placed under cold water). 15% had no first aid at the scene or did not have any recorded measures of first aid.
Majority (77%) of the burns were 5% or less, and 53% were superficial partial thickness burns (with the remainder being mid-dermal, full thickness or mixed depth burns).
45% (24) did not have a paediatric review. Of the remainder, 88% (30) were reviewed within 24 h of admission.
15% of patients had social concerns identified, with only 44% of these regarding the current admission.
Conclusion Scalds are the most common cause of injury in our unit. Efforts need to be made to increase the awareness to prevent burns, and to administer effective first aid methods at the scene of the accident, if possible.