Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract In a prospective study of 560 children treated for burns as in-patients over a period of four-and-a-half years in specialized hospitals responsible for the majority of burn cases in Kuwait, 388 patients (69%) had sustained scalds. The mean age of these 388 children, between 0 to 12 years, was 3.02 ± 2.08, and male to female ratio 1.5 to 1. They were categorized into three age groups, first, up to 1 year comprised 17.5% cases, who were solely dependent on parents or childminder; second, 2 to 5 years of age, who were inquisitive, independent, pre-school children, and constituted the majority of cases (73%), and third 6 to 12 years who were 9.5% school children. The pre-school children (2--5 yrs) thus formed a highly vulnerable group in the country. Accidents (99.4%) occurred at home and the kitchen being the commonest place. The hot water from pan and pots in the kitchen was the most common etiologic factor in 229 cases (59%), followed by tea/coffee 20.7%, soup 9.0%, hot oil 6.7%, and milk 4.6% patients. The most common circumstance was the child upsetting the pan of hot fluid in the kitchen. The mean total body surface areas of second and third degree burns were 14.21 ± 9.66 (range 1 to 60%). The average length of stay in the hospital was 16.90 ± 15.74 days, varying from one to 109 days. Thirty-nine children were ill prior to burn, and the commonest disease was respiratory tract infection. Three patients (0.8%) with 3rd degree burns were treated with primary excision and grafting, and 137 (35.3%) needed secondary skin grafting for residual burn wounds. Four patients (1%) died, one due to burn shock, two due to septicemia and one due to multiorgan failure. There is need for general awareness through public education, which may lead to the prevention of significant number of such accidents.
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