UCSD Health Sciences UCSD Health Sciences
December 10, 1999

Media Contact: Eileen Callahan (619) 543-6163


The UCSD Regional Burn Center released a statistical report today on people who were burned in San Diego and Imperial counties from January through December 1998. The 372 pediatric and adult patients burn patients for the 1998 Burn Center census annual report were admitted to the Burn Center for burn injuries as well as for smoke inhalation.

The majority of burns occurred in adults with 205 admissions being individuals ages 18-65 with the elderly population having the least amount of admissions (39). However, more than 100 (108) admissions were children from infancy to age 18.

“This is an opportunity to remind people that most burn accidents involving young children occur in the home and involve hot liquids or cooking,” said John Hansbrough, M.D., Director, UCSD Regional Burn Center. “To prevent these accidents, which happen quickly and are often quite serious, younger children in particular should not be in the kitchen during cooking and hot liquids should be kept out of reach. We see more adolescent patients during the months corresponding with school vacations, which may be associated with decreased adult supervision and recreational activities that take place during leisure time.”

Four year olds through 12-year-olds was the smallest group of pediatric patients and were primarily injured in home accidents, with most of these involving cooking and scalding accidents. Contact with hot objects such as curling irons and clothing irons, hot coals, “popper” fireworks, gasoline, gunpowder and barbecues also account for burn accidents to young children. These accidents frequently result in third degree burns, the most serious form of burn, often requiring skin grafting.

Children under four years of age, the largest pediatric patient group, represented 81 percent of children who were injured in the home, with scalding as the most common injury, often involving coffee and tea spills.

Adults accounted for the largest number of admission (205). A large percentage of injuries in adults were from direct fire and flames, with cooking related injuries being the next most common cause of burns. Once again, the majority of adults were burned in the home, but injuries also occurred in the work place, as well as during recreational activities. Men accounted for 66 percent of the admissions and 34 percent were females.

Elderly patients, 65 years and older, (39) were predominately injured at home and for the most part were injured while doing routine household activities.

The UCSD Regional Burn Center was established in 1973 to provide specialized medical care and rehabilitation for severely burned patients. In the past 26 years, the Burn Center has treated thousands of patients. The Center, with its eighteen-bed inpatient facility, outpatient clinic and additional research and patient care resources, is the only comprehensive burn program in San Diego and Imperial counties.