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Objective To describe patterns in thermal injury incidence and hospitalisations by age, gender, calendar year and socioeconomic status among 0–4 year olds in England for the period 1998–2013. Participants 708,050 children with linked primary care and hospitalisation data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), respectively. Analysis Incidence rates of all thermal injuries (identified in CPRD and/or HES), hospitalised thermal injuries, and serious thermal injuries (hospitalised for ≥72 h). Adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI), estimated using Poisson regression. Results Incidence rates of all thermal injuries, hospitalised thermal injuries, and serious thermal injuries were 59.5 per 10,000 person-years (95%CI 58.4–60.6), 11.3 (10.8–11.8) and 2.15 (1.95–2.37), respectively. Socioeconomic gradients, between the most and least deprived quintiles, were steepest for serious thermal injuries (IRR 3.17, 95%CI 2.53–3.96). Incidence of all thermal injuries (IRR 0.64, 95%CI 0.58–0.70) and serious thermal injuries (IRR 0.44, 95%CI 0.33–0.59) reduced between 1998/9 and 2012/13. Incidence rates of hospitalised thermal injuries did not significantly change over time. Conclusion Incidence of all thermal injuries and those hospitalised for ≥72 h reduced over time. Steep socioeconomic gradients support continued targeting of preventative interventions to those living in the most deprived areas.

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Burns; Children; Epidemiology; Thermal injuries; England