Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Knowledge of childhood burn risks and burn first aid: Cool Runnings
  1. Jacqueline D Burgess1,2,3,
  2. Kerrianne A Watt4,
  3. Roy M Kimble1,3,5,
  4. Cate M Cameron6,7
  1. 1 Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, University of Queensland, Children’s Health Research Centre, Brisbane, Australia
  2. 2 Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre, Brisbane, Australia
  3. 3 Pegg Leditschke Children’s Burns Centre, Lady Cilento Childen’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  4. 4 College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
  5. 5 Department of Paediatric Surgery, Urology Burns and Trauma Unit, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  6. 6 The Jamieson Trauma Institute, Metro North Hospital and Health Service District, Herston, Australia
  7. 7 The Hopkins Centre, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Jacqueline D Burgess, Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, University of Queensland, Children’sHealth Research Centre, Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia; jacquii{at}


Aim The high incidence of hot beverage scalds among young children has not changed in the past 15 years, but preventive campaigns have been scarce. A novel approach was used to engage mothers of young children in an app-based hot beverage scald prevention campaign ‘Cool Runnings’. This paper provides baseline data for this randomised controlled trial (RCT).

Method Queensland-based mothers aged 18+ years with at least one child aged 5–12 months were recruited via social media to Cool Runnings, which is a two-group, parallel, single-blinded RCT.

Results In total, 498 participants from across Queensland completed the baseline questionnaire. The most common source of burn first aid information was the internet (79%). One-third (33%) correctly identified hot beverage scalds as the leading cause of childhood burns, 43% knew the age group most at risk. While 94% reported they would cool a burn with water, only 10% reported the recommended 20min duration. After adjusting for all relevant variables, there were two independent predictors of adequate burn first aid knowledge: first aid training in the past year (OR=3.32; 95% CI 1.8 to 6.1) and smoking status (OR=0.17; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.7).

Conclusion In this study, mothers of young children were largely unaware how frequently hot beverage scalds occur and the age group most susceptible to them. Inadequate burn first aid knowledge is prevalent across mothers of young children; there is an urgent and compelling need to improve burn first aid knowledge in this group. Given the high incidence of hot beverages scalds in children aged 6–24 months, it is important to target future burn prevention/first aid campaigns at parents of young children.

Trial registration number ACTRN12616000019404; Pre-results.

  • burn
  • child

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors We confirm that all authors have made substantial contributions to all of the following: (1) the conception and design of the study, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data, (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content and (3) final approval of the version to be submitted.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the University of Queensland Institutional Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number: 2015001652).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.