Risk factors for burns in children: Crowding, poverty, and poor maternal education

J. Delgado, M. E. Ramírez-Cardich, Robert H. Gilman, R. Lavarello, N. Dahodwala, A. V. Bazán, V. Rodríguez, R. I. Cama, M. Tovar, A. Lescano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-41
Number of pages4
JournalInjury Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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