Child abuse and neglect in paediatric burns: The majority is caused by neglect and thus preventable

in collaboration with the KARIBU-group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: It is complex to distinguish negligent burns from inflicted and non-intentional burns, especially since no deliberate action caused the burn. Its recognition is important to create a safe life without (future) burns for our loved-ones who cannot take care of themselves (yet). Our aim was to investigate the incidence and associated characteristics of negligent burns are among children treated at a burn center. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical files of all children attending a Dutch burn center with an acute burn between January 2013–December 2015. The conclusion of the Child Abuse and Neglect team (CAN) was used to define inflicted, negligent or non-intentional burns. The remaining cases were reviewed by an expert panel using a standardized protocol. Demographic and social data as well as clinical information about the burn were collected. Results: In total 330 children were included. Negligent burns accounted for 56%, non-intentional for 42% and inflicted for 2% of the burns. Negligent burns were associated with: hot beverages (OR 4.40, 95%CI 2.75–7.05), a younger age (p < 0.001), occurrence at home (OR 4.87 95%CI 2.80–8.45) and were located at the anterior trunk (OR 2.75, 95%CI 1.73–4.35) and neck (OR 1.98, 95%CI 1.12–3.50). Conclusion: This study shows that neglect is a major factor in the occurrence of burns in young children, therefore we conclude that the majority of paediatric burns are preventable. Educational programs creating awareness and focussing on prevention of these burns should be aimed at households, since the majority of negligent as cause of preventable burns occur at home.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • Burn
  • Child abuse
  • Children
  • Intentional
  • Neglect

Cite this