A New Injury Prevention Target: Summer Hair Braids

Jesus I. Ramirez, Debi M. Thomas, Donald J. Neal, Pirko Maguina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scald injuries caused by hair braiding have become increasingly common in our pediatric burn center's African-American population. This injury mechanism has received little attention in the medical literature. To guide prevention, the present study aims to characterize this novel mechanism of injury and identify patterns underlying its frequency. A retrospective cohort analysis was performed on all cases of scald injury due to hair braiding in African-American girls treated at our burn center from 2000 to 2016. Data were gathered from the patient's medical records to determine demographics, details of the injury, and treatment rendered. Patterns of injury frequency were identified and statistically analyzed. Thirty-four patients suffered scald injuries associated with hair braiding. The mean patient age was 8.4 years (SD ± 5 years). The majority of injuries (90%) occurred in the home. The frequency of injuries significantly increased starting in the year 2012, rising from less than 3% to more than 10% of evaluated injuries in African-American girls (P = .0015). Injuries were significantly more frequent in summer months. Injuries resulted in considerable usage of medical resources, including ambulance transport, hospital admission, clinic visits, prolonged wound care, and surgery. Complications developed in 41% of injured children; the most frequent complication was scarring. Pediatric scald injuries caused by braiding practices are morbid, have recently become increasingly frequent, tend to occur in the summer, and may be related to a new do-it-yourself style trend among African-American girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-914
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 23 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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