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UF researchers warn parents about dangers of childhood foot burns
Date:3/5/2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Warmer weather is just around the corner, but before families fire up the barbecue, roast marshmallows around a crackling campfire or burn yard debris, they should consider some common precautions to help snuff out a serious childhood health risk.

University of Florida researchers warn that the same warm-weather activities that create lasting childhood memories are some of the leading causes of pediatric foot and ankle burns in the southeastern United States.

In what is thought to be the largest such evaluation to date, UF burn experts found that 69 percent of the 155 pediatric foot and ankle burns reviewed were caused by children walking on hot ashes, coals and embers with some injuries occurring as long as a day or more after the fires were thought to be extinguished. Most of these youngsters were barefoot or wearing footwear that did not fully cover their feet, such as sandals.

We wanted to look at our experience with these burns because it appeared to us, anecdotally, that we were treating a fair number of children with burns isolated to the feet, said Elizabeth Beierle, M.D., a UF associate professor of pediatric surgery and the principal investigator of the study, published in the January/February edition of the Journal of Burn Care and Research. We felt that there may be a pattern that could be identified that would lead us to potentially develop prevention strategies.

In the retrospective study, researchers used hospital and pediatric surgery databases to identify patients ages 8 months to 17 years admitted to the Shands at UF Burn Center between September 1992 and February 2006.

Two-thirds of the ash burns occurred after children came into contact with burning yard waste or garbage, nearly a third were caused by campfires and 6 percent involved encounters with a barbecue.

About half of the total cases studied which also included scald, flame or contact burns were classified as
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Contact: Jennifer Brindise
jennifer.brindise@surgery.ufl.edu
352-265-0646
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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