Iron burns to the hand in the young pediatric patient: A problem in prevention

Rebeccah L. Brown, David G Greenhalgh, Glenn D. Warden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Iron burns to the hand may result in both functional and cosmetic deformities in the young pediatric patient. To gain a better understanding of these injuries in terms of demographics, treatment, and outcome, and to address possible measures for prevention, the medical records of 82 pediatric patients suffering iron burns to the hand during the period 1987 to 1993 were reviewed. Iron burns to the hand occurred most commonly in male children less than 2 years of age. Most were minor partial-thickness burns that were treated in the outpatient setting with no adverse sequelae. Fifteen percent of patients, however, sustained full-thickness burns that required grafting. Ten percent of patients developed complications including hypertrophic scarring and scar contractures requiring surgical release. Socioeconomic factors and parental inexperience appeared to play a significant role, as most of these injuries occurred in low-income, single-parent, single-child households. Most injuries were unintentional, however, many were caused by carelessness or neglect. Abuse was suspected or proven in 7% of cases. Parents may be unaware of the consequences of leaving a child unattended in the presence of a hot iron. The incidence of these injuries could be reduced effectively by improved public awareness of the problem and education in prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Emergency Medicine


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