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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 non-scald burns

  • Of 300 studies reviewed (12 foreign language articles), 33 studies included1-33
  • Study designs:
    1 case-control 12
    2 cross-sectional 11,23
    29 case study / case series 1-10,13-22,24-33
  • 19 / 24 included studies detailing intentional non-scald burns included a ranking of abuse of one or two 1,3-6,9,10,12,15,18,20,21,23,25-29.31
  • 10 / 12 included studies detailing unintentional non-scald burns included a ranking of accident of A or B 2,14,16,19,22,25,30-33
  • Age: ranging from 0-14 years
  • Gender:
    There were no large scale epidemiological studies that determined gender break-down
  • One study included two children with physical disability and learning impairment 27


Influence of ethnicity and socio-economic group

  • None of the included studies addressed this issue

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  1. Alexander RC, Surrell JA, Cohle SD. Microwave oven burns to children: an unusual manifestation of child abuse. Pediatrics. 1987;79(2):255-260 [Pubmed]
  2. Baron S, Moss C. Images in paediatrics: Caustic burn caused by potassium permanganate. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2003;88(2):96 [Pubmed citation only]
  3. Caniano DA, Beaver BL, Boles ET. Child abuse. An update on surgical management in 256 cases. Annals of Surgery. 1986;203(2):219-224 [Pubmed]
  4. Darok M, Reischle S. Burn injuries caused by a hair-dryer - an unusual case of child abuse. Forensic Science International. 2001;115(1):143-146 [Pubmed]
  5. Frechette A, Rimsza ME. Stun gun injury: a new presentation of the battered child syndrome. Pediatrics. 1992;89(5):898-901 [Pubmed]
  6. 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]
  7. Gollogly JG, Vath SB, Malmberg A. Acid attacks in Cambodia: serious reminders of personal conflicts. Asian Biomedicine. 2008;2(4):329-334 [Abstract from IMSEAR]
  8. Grellner W, Metzner G. Kindesmißhandlung durch thermische Gewalt: Abgrenzung und Rekonstruktion [German] [Child abuse caused by thermal violence--determination and reconstruction]. Archiv für Kriminologie. 1995;195(1):38-46 [Pubmed]
  9. 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
  10. Heredea LS. Diagnostic problems of burns produced by physical abuse towards children. Archives of the Balkan Medical Union. 2008;43(3):171-176 [Abstract from Archives of the Balkan Medical Union]
  11. Hicks RA, Stolfi A. Skeletal surveys in children with burns caused by child abuse. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2007;23(5):308-313 [Pubmed]
  12. Hobbs CJ. When are burns not accidental? Archives of Disease in Childhood. 1986;61(4):357-361 [Pubmed]
  13. Hobbs CJ, Wynne JM. The sexually abused battered child. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 1990;65(4): 423-427 [Pubmed]
  14. Howieson AJ, Harley OJH, Tiernan EP. Laundry detergent and possible nonaccidental injury. European Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2007;14(3):163-164 [Pubmed]
  15. Johnson CF. Symbolic scarring and tattooing: unusual manifestations of child abuse. Clinical Pediatrics. 1994;33(1):46-49 [Pubmed citation only]
  16. Johnson CF, Oral R, Gullberg L. Diaper burn: accident, abuse, or neglect. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2000;16(3):173-175 [Pubmed]
  17. Kibayashi K, Shojo H. Patterned injuries in children who have suffered repeated physical abuse. Pediatrics International. 2003;45(2):193-195 [Pubmed citation only]
  18. Kini N, Lazoritz S, Ott C, Conley SF. Caustic instillation into the ear as a form of child abuse. American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 1997;15(4):442-443 [Pubmed citation only]
  19. Lapid O. Copper sulphate burns to the hands, a complication of traditional medicine. Journal of Burn Care & Research. 2008;29(3):544-547 [Pubmed]
  20. 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]
  21. Mukadam S, Gilles EE. Unusual inflicted hot oil burns in a 7-year-old. Burns. 2003;29(1):83-86 [Pubmed]
  22. Nunez AE, Taff ML. A chemical burn simulating child abuse. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. 1985;6(2):181-183 [Pubmed citation only]
  23. Ofodile F, Norris J, Garnes A. Burns and child abuse. The East African Medical Journal. 1979;56(1):26-29 [Pubmed citation only]
  24. Petersen HD, Wandall JH. Evidence of physical torture in a series of children. Forensic Science International. 1995;75(1):45-55 [Pubmed]
  25. Prescott PR. Hair dryer burns in children. Pediatrics. 1990;86(5):692-697 [Pubmed]
  26. Ramakrishnan MK, Mathivanan T, Sankar J. Profile of children abused by burning. Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters. 2010;23(1)8-12 [Pubmed]

  27. Seifert D, Krohn J, Larson M, Lambe A, Püschel K, Kurth H. Violence against children: further evidence suggesting a relationship between burns, scalds, and the additional injuries. International Journal of Legal Medicine. 2010;124(1):49-54 [Pubmed]
  28. Shavit I, Knaani-Levinz H. Images in emergency medicine. Annals Of Emergency Medicine. 2008;51(5):579-582. [Article from Science Direct]
  29. Sudikoff S, Young RS. Burn from hairdryer: accident or abuse? Pediatrics. 1994;93(3):540 [Pubmed citation only]
  30. Telmon N, Allery J-P, Dorandeu A, Rougé D. Concentrated bleach burns in a child. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 2002;47(5):1060-1061 [Pubmed]
  31. 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]

  32. Winek CL, Wahba WW, Huston RM. Chemical burn from alkaline batteries — a case report. Forensic Science International. 1999;100(1):101-104 [Pubmed]
  33. Zurbuchen P, LeCoultre C, Calza A-M, Halpérin DS. Cutaneous necrosis after contact with calcium chloride: a mistaken diagnosis of child abuse. Pediatrics. 1996;97(2):257-258 [Pubmed citation only]



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