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Flame burns

The following is a summary of the systematic review findings up to the date of our most recent literature search. If you have a specific clinical case, we strongly recommend you read all of the relevant references as cited and look for additional material published outside our search dates.


Intentional flame burns

  • House fires were excluded from this review which encompass the majority of flame burns

Cases of intentional flame burns included: 1-3,5,6,8


  • Two attempted incinerations
  • One cigarette thrown in baby’s incubator
  • Two fire burns
  • Flame burns, no details provided

Location of intentional flame burn / incineration: 1-3,5,6


  • Extensive over the body
  • Characteristics – all fatal extensive burns, consistent with history
  • One study described a burning match held to the face or thigh of the child (ten cases) 7

Age range: 0 – 10 years


Unintentional flame burns

One case 7.75 year old with mental retardation had its nappy set alight unintentionally by a sibling 4

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  1. Gillespie RW. The battered child syndrome: thermal and caustic manifestations. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. 1965;5:523-534 [Pubmed citation only]
  2. Hashimoto I, Nakanishi H, Nagae H, Yamano M, Takeuchi N, Nameda Y, Arase S, Nii M, Taguchi Y, Kuroda Y. Child abuse-related burns: Two cases of severe burns related to child abuse syndrome. Japanese Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 1995;38:149-154
  3. Hicks RA, Stolfi A. Skeletal surveys in children with burns caused by child abuse. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2007;23(5):308-313 [Pubmed]
  4. Johnson CF, Oral R, Gullberg L. Diaper burn: accident, abuse, or neglect. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2000;16(3):173-175 [Pubmed]
  5. Lung RJ, Miller SH, Davis TS, Graham WPI. Recognizing burn injuries as child abuse. American Family Physician. 1977;15(4):134-135 [Pubmed citation only]
  6. Ofodile F, Norris J, Garnes A. Burns and child abuse. The East African Medical Journal. 1979;56(1):26-29 [Pubmed citation only]
  7. Ramakrishnan MK, Mathivanan T, Sankar J. Profile of children abused by burning. Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters. 2010;23(1)8-12 [Pubmed]

  8. Wibbenmeyer L, Liao J, Heard J, Kealey L, Kealey G, Oral R. Factors related to child maltreatment in children presenting with burn injuries. Journal of Burn Care & Research. 2014;35(5):374-381 [Pubmed]


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