The media glorifying burns: A hindrance to burn prevention

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14 Scopus citations


The media have a profound influence on the actions of children and adults. Burns and burn prevention tend to be ignored or even mocked. The purpose of this presentation is to reveal the callousness of the media in its dealings with burns and burn prevention. Printed materials with a relationship to burns, risk of burning, of disrespect for the consequences of burns were collected. The materials were tabulated into four categories: comics, advertisements (ads), articles that made light of burns, and television shows that portrayed behavior that would risk burn injury. Most burn-related materials were found in comics or advertisements. Several comics made light of high-risk behavior with flames, scald injury, contact injury, or burns. In addition, several advertisements showed people on fire or actions that could easily lead to burns. Several articles and televisions shows portrayed high-risk behavior that, in some instances, led to copycat injuries. Flames are frequently used to sell items that target adolescent boys or young men. The high incidence injuries that frequent this population parallel the high-risk behaviors portrayed by the media. The media portrays flames and high-risk behavior for burn injury as being cool, funny, and without consequence. The use of flames on clothing and recreational equipment (skateboards, hot rods) particularly targets the high-risk adolescent male. The burn community should make the media aware of the harm it causes with its callous depiction and glorification of burns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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