To evaluate the incidence and severity of grease and oil burns in children and to discuss prevention.
All pediatric patients admitted with hot grease burns were compared with the general pediatric burn population.
All admissions to a regional burn center during a 20-year period were reviewed using a computerized database.
Eight thousand three hundred sixteen patients with acute burn injuries were admitted. Children less than 15 years old accounted for 31.9% of this population (2651 patients). Two hundred fifteen children had burns caused by hot grease or oil.
Sixty-nine patients (32%) in the pediatric grease burn group were admitted to the intensive care unit. Thirteen patients (6%) required intubation, and six (46%) eventually required tracheostomy. Sixty-three patients (29.3%) required operative procedures for wound care.
Main Outcome Measures:
Grease burn patients had a significantly higher incidence of full-thickness burns, wound infection, and burns involving the face, neck, chest, and arms but lower mortality compared with the general pediatric burn population. Fifty percent of grease burns were caused by home deep fryers.
There was no difference between the groups regarding age, sex, or ethnic distribution, size of injury, length of hospitalization, number of intensive care unit admissions, pulmonary infections, operative procedures, or mechanical ventilator requirements.
Grease burns often result in long-lasting, disfiguring, and debilitating injuries. Home deep fryers are frequently involved in these injuries. Careful use of these appliances is mandatory. Increased public awareness is vital to this effort.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:478-482)