Background May 1985, injury surveillance was initiated at Harstad Hospital. Coding was done by the Nordic system for upstream variables. Data from 1985–86 (baseline) showed high thermal burn risk in children 0–4 years old. The consumption of hospital resources for treatment was also high, particularly for scalds in terms of grafting, hygienic precautions, treatment infections and support for patients and parents.
Methods Quasi-experimental design. Harstad (main intervention), six surrounding communities (intervention diffusion) and Trondheim (reference). Based on data on where, when and how injuries occurred, prevention was targeted with a mix of passive and active strategies. Participants interventions: e.g. public health nurses, plumbers, electric appliances stores, politicians, media and the hospital. Scalds caused the most serious burns and were prevented by lowering tap water temperature, installing cooker safeguards and informing parents through home visits and regular health checks for 0-4 children (four yearly).
Results After 10 years burn rates decreased from baseline by 51.5% (p < 0.05) in Harstad and 40% in the six municipalities (n.s.) Rates in Trondheim increased by 18.1% (n.s.). Long term results: The rate scalds/contact burns decreased gradually during 30 years. The serious scalds from receptacles with boiling foodstuff pulled down from the stove were mostly eliminated. Mean yearly hospital bed consumption for burns in children 0–4 years from Harstad and the six communities was 26.8 during 1985–94 and 2.1 during 1995–2014. During the last two decades, asylum seekers were overrepresented.
Conclusions Programs targeting burns in children can be effective and sustainable. Local injury data provided stimulus for community action.
- Burns children community
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