Burns are the source of a significant number of pediatric injuries, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Within developing countries—where 90% of pediatric burn injuries occur—the WHO-defined African region has the highest rate of pediatric burn-related deaths. In the upper-middle income country South Africa, the rate is five-times higher than other upper-middle income countries, with a rate of burns at 2.8 per 100,000 children. The lack of data available on pediatric burns in LMICs, however, is a significant hindrance in efforts to address this burden.

Recently, members of the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU), including associate directors Abdulgafoor Bachani and Kent Stevens published study in Injury that examined the trends in injuries over a 15-year period in Cape Town, South Africa.

The study, led by JH-IIRU post-doctoral fellow Hadley K H Wesson, used data collected by Childsafe South Africa from the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCH) trauma registry in Cape Town between 1995-2009. The data focused on children under the age of 13 who presented in the hospital’s casualty department with burn injuries.

Among the team’s findings, results suggested that attention should be placed on male children under five with scald burns received in the home environment. The significance of this study lies in the ability to use data to support additional studies, inform policy and implement targeted interventions to reduce the burden on childhood burn injuries globally.

“Pediatric Burn Injuries in South Africa: A 15-Year Analysis of Hospital Data,” will appear in the upcoming issue of Injury. More information is available here:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020138312005566