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Risk factors for burns in children: crowding, poverty, and poor maternal education
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  1. J Delgado1,
  2. M E Ramírez-Cardich1,
  3. R H Gilman1,
  4. R Lavarello1,
  5. N Dahodwala1,
  6. A Bazán2,
  7. V Rodríguez2,
  8. R I Cama1,
  9. M Tovar1,
  10. A Lescano1
  1. 1Benefit Assocciation PRISMA (Projects in Informatics, Medicine, Health and Agriculture), Lima, Peru
  2. 2Burns Unit, National Institute of Child Health, Lima, Peru
  1. Correspondence and reprint requests to:
 Dr Robert H Gilman, Asociación Benéfica PRISMA, Av Carlos Gonzales #251, Lima 32, Perú;
 rgilman{at}prisma.org.pe

Abstract

Objective: To characterize the presentation of burns in children and risk factors associated with their occurrence in a developing country as a basis for future prevention programs.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: Burn unit of the National Institute of Child Health (Instituto Nacional de Salud del Niño) in Lima, Peru.

Methods: A questionnaire was administered to all consenting guardians of children admitted to the burns (cases) and general medicine (controls) units during a period of 14 months. Guardians of patients were questioned regarding etiology of the injury, demographic and socioeconomic data.

Results: 740 cases and controls were enrolled. Altogether 77.5% of the cases burns occurred in the patient's home, with 67.8% in the kitchen; 74% were due to scalding. Most involved children younger than 5 years. Lack of water supply (odds ratio (OR) 5.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1 to 12.3), low income (OR 2.8, 95% CI 2.0 to 3.9), and crowding (OR 2.5, 95%CI 1.7 to 3.6) were associated with an increased risk. The presence of a living room (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4 to 0.8) and better maternal education (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.5 to 0.9) were protective factors.

Conclusions: To prevent burns interventions should be directed to low socioeconomic status groups; these interventions should be designed accordingly to local risk factors.

  • scalding burns
  • socioeconomic factors
  • maternal education
  • BSA, body surface area
  • CI, confidence interval
  • INSN, Instituto Nacional de Salud del Niño
  • OR, odds ratio
  • scalding burns
  • socioeconomic factors
  • maternal education
  • BSA, body surface area
  • CI, confidence interval
  • INSN, Instituto Nacional de Salud del Niño
  • OR, odds ratio

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