Top 5 Causes of Burn Injuries


Burn injury is one of the leading kinds of harm that befall young children and the elderly population. According to the United States National Institute of Health, there are more than 2 million people who seek treatment for burn injury and over 3,000 die of severe burns.

Burn injury is a cause for concern in a worldwide scale and it can happen to just about anybody. Knowing about the leading causes of burn injury is the first step in preventing it from happening.

The top five causes of burn injury are:

  1. 1.      Flame

About 50% of burn injury cases involve flames, whether in household, vehicle or industrial environment.

  • The majority of civilian fire deaths is due to a home fire. The most reported causes of home fires are cooking accidents, unsafe use of heaters, wood stoves, and smoking.
  • Vehicle fires account for one out of every five fires and it is hazardous because of the toxic gases, flying debris and massive explosions associate with motor vehicle fires.
  • Industrial accidents that lead to burn injury cases are factors of chemical spills, machine defects, construction accidents, maintenance failures and negligence.
  1. 2.      Scalds

Forty percent of reported burn injury incidents are due to scalding or hot liquid burn injury. Children and elderly are of much greater risk of scalding because their skin is thinner than that of the middle-aged adults’. Liquid burn injury may cause minimal harm in an adult but can cause second to third degree burn injury in children even in a short time and lower temperature such as 140 degrees. Burn injury due to scalding does not only happen with hot water spillage but also with hot beverages and oil as well.

  1. 3.      Chemical

Chemical burn injury is not very obvious right away because the tissue damage is not at surface level. However, minor chemical burns that get out of hand may lead to seizures and cardiac arrest.

  1. 4.      Electrical

Burn injury caused by electrical accidents is commonly called electrocutions. The burn injury is also not apparent but takes the form of nerve and tissue damage.


  1. 5.      Defective product

Burn injury due to defective product is not uncommon. Many lawsuits of negligence, false advertising and serious injuries have been filed because of defective products. The most commonly recalled products that are associated with burn injury are fire extinguishers, space heaters, tea kettles and candleholders.


Burn injury is preventable from homes, commercial places and working environments. Smoke alarms, proper escape plans, knowledge of first aid are just some of the helpful things to have to prevent and address cases of burn injury.