Background In the United States, burns are the third leading cause of unintentional injury death in children aged 1–14 years, accounting for more than 600 deaths per year in children aged 0–19 years.
Objective To describe trends in paediatric burn hospitalisations in the United States and provide national benchmarks for state and regional comparisons.
Methods Analysis of existing data (1993–2006) from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample—the largest, longitudinal, all-payer inpatient care database in the United States. Children aged 0–19 years were included. Main outcome measures: estimated national annual rates of burn-related hospitalisations, stratified by age, gender, and in-hospital mortality.
Results From 1993 to 2006, the estimated annual incidence rate of paediatric hospitalisations associated with burns declined 40% from 27.3 (1993–94) to 16.1 per 100 000 (p<0.001). The rates declined for all age groups and for both boys and girls. Boys were consistently more likely to be hospitalised than girls (20.3 vs 11.7 hospitalisations per 100 000 during 2004–06, p<0.001). For children less than 5 years of age, burn hospitalisations decreased 46% from 65.2 per 100 000 in 1993–94 to 35.1 per 100 000 in 2004–06 (p<0.001). Fatal hospitalisation rates also declined from 0.3 deaths per 100 000 in 1993–94 to 0.1 in 2004–06 (p<0.001).
Conclusion Paediatric hospitalisation rates for burns have decreased over the past 14 years. The study also provides national estimates of paediatric burn hospitalisations that can be used as benchmarks to further injury prevention effectiveness through targeting of effective strategies.
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Funding Support has been provided in part by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, the major research component of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.