Facts About Burn Injury

According to the latest data available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, consider the following statistics:

  • Unintentional injury is a leading cause of death among children under age 14.

  • Leading causes of accidental injury at home are burns, drowning, suffocation, choking, poisonings, falls, and fire arms.

  • Burns and fires are a common cause of accidental death in children and adults, and account for an estimated 3,500 adult and child deaths per year.

  • Nearly 75 percent of all scalding burns in children are preventable.

  • Toddlers and children are more often burned by a scalding or flames.

  • The majority of children ages 4 and under, who are hospitalized for burn-related injuries, suffer from scalds burns (65 percent) or contact burns (20 percent).

  • Hot tap water burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than burns from any other hot liquids.


Most common injury type

Risk factors

< 5 Years


Playing with matches, cigarette lighters, fires in fireplaces, barbecue pits, and trash fires.



Kitchen injury from tipping scalding liquids.

Bathtub scalds often associated with lack of supervision or child abuse. Greatest number of pediatric burn patients are infants and toddlers younger than 3 years of age burned by scalding liquids.

5 to 10 Years


Male children are at an increased risk often due to fire play and risk-taking behaviors.



Female children are at increased risk, with most burns occurring in the kitchen or bathroom.



Injury associated with male peer-group activities involving gasoline or other flammable products, such as fireworks.



Occurs most often in male adolescents involved in dare-type behaviors, such as climbing utility poles or antennas. In rural areas, burns may be caused by moving irrigation pipes that touch an electrical source.

  • During the last 30 years, burn injuries have decreased for the following reasons:

    • Increased use of smoke detectors.

    • The flammability of consumer products, such as toys and pajamas, is federally regulated.

    • The U.S. government monitors safety in the workplace.

    • A greater national emphasis is placed on burn injury prevention and fire safety.

    • A decrease in smoking helps prevent burn injuries.

    • New water heaters in homes and in public areas are now preset at lower temperatures to reduce scald injuries.

    • There are fewer open fires.

Heat and cold injuries

Children are much more vulnerable to changes in the temperature of the environment because they produce and lose heat faster than adults. Because they are so often busy playing and having fun, children tend to pay less attention to when they are becoming too hot or too cold until problems occur. It is important for you to protect your child from the sun and from heat and cold exposures that may cause them illness or injury.

Knowing what to do in case a burn or thermal injury occurs can help prevent a medical emergency.