Review of the records of 678 children with acute injuries referred during an eight year period to this burn unit indicated that flame burns from a single ignition source (50%) outranked scalds (27%) or house fires (12%) as causes of injury. There was no temporal trend in the rank pattern. The majority of these single-source flame injuries were severe and involved ignition of the child's clothing. From 1969 through 1973, sleepwear was the clothing involved in 32% of the instances. Since that time and coincident with promulgation of strict federal and state standards for flammability of children's night clothing, a dramatic decline in the number of children referred with injuries of this type has taken place. It is probable that the single factor most important to the decline, in our experience with these injuries, is lower fabric flammability but, because our data may not be representative, corroboration is needed before one can exclude factors such as altered garment design, fire safety related practices at home, or changing patterns of hospital referral.
- fabric flammability
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These are the 18th and 19th papers in a series of Injury Classics. Our goal is to reprint one or two such papers in each issue to introduce newcomers to these old, often quoted, and important contributions. As many are difficult to find, it should help all of us to have a copy at hand. Your suggestions about future articles are welcome. Write to the editor with details of your favourite, most quoted paper.
This paper first appeared in Pediatrics (1977;:–9) and is reproduced with permission.