In 2017, Parkland admitted more than 230 children for specialized burn treatments. More than half of them were three years old or younger.
“The number of both pediatric and adult patients admitted to the burn center has steadily increased over the years along with the population growth in North Texas,” Parkland Burn Program Manager Stephanie Campbell says. “The rate of pediatric admissions has remained steady, representing about a third of our total admissions each year,” Campbell says.
With burn cases on the rise, experts at Parkland, the fourth busiest pediatric burn center in the U.S., are reiterating the importance of preventing burns, specifically those related to high-risk infants and toddlers.
More than 70 percent of burns treated in children age three or younger were scald burns. In children over three, scald burns are still a leading cause of injury—they represented 40 percent of patients admitted to Parkland’s burn center in 2017. “Hot liquid and hot food can cause deep and extensive burn injuries, just like fire,” Campbell says. According to the American Burn Association, 73 percent of burn injuries treated in burn centers occur in the home.
Of U.S. deaths in 2015 related to injuries, unintentional fire or burn injuries were the fifth-leading cause among children ages one to four and the third-leading cause among children ages five to nine. Yet, most patients recover. “The national mortality rate for admissions to burn centers has steadily decreased to around 3.4%, which means 96.6% of patients admitted to burn centers recover,” says Campbell.
Parkland treatments include hydrotherapy, skin grafting and rehabilitative therapy. “Modern burn care has made great strides in areas such as fluid resuscitations, infection prevention, operative techniques, and wound care,” Campbell says. “Now burn professionals are turning their focus to continuing to care for the patient after discharge.” Parkland’s advanced burn care includes resources to help patients transition back to every day life, including youth burn camps, school re-entry, support groups, adult retreats and survivor reunions. “Severe burn injuries may have a long-lasting physical and psychological impact on patients of all ages, but we are working hard to offer the treatment and ongoing support needed to get people back to living their best lives,” says Campbell.