Poverty, population density, and the epidemiology of burns in young children from Mexico treated at a U.S. pediatric burn facility

Dipen D. Patel, Marta Rosenberg, Laura Rosenberg, Guillermo Foncerrada, Clark R. Andersen, Karel D. Capek, Jesus Leal, Jong O. Lee, Carlos Jimenez, Ludwik Branski, Walter J. Meyer, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Children 5 and younger are at risk for sustaining serious burn injuries. The causes of burns vary depending on demographic, cultural and socioeconomic variables. At this pediatric burn center we provided medical care to children from Mexico with severe injuries. The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of demographic distribution and modifiable risk factors of burns in young children to help guide prevention. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed with children 5 and younger from Mexico who were injured from 2000–2013. The medical records of 447 acute patients were reviewed. Frequency counts and percentages were used to identify geographic distribution and calculate incidence of burns. Microsoft Powermap software was used to create a geographical map of Mexico based on types of burns. A binomial logistic regression was used to model the incidence of flame burns as opposed to scald burns in each state with relation to population density and poverty percentage. In all statistical tests, alpha = 0.05 for a 95% level of confidence. Results: Burns were primarily caused by flame and scald injuries. Admissions from flame injuries were mainly from explosions of propane tanks and gas lines and house fires. Flame injuries were predominantly from the states of Jalisco, Chihuahua, and Distrito Federal. Scalds were attributed to falling in large containers of hot water or food on the ground, and spills of hot liquids. Scald injuries were largely from the states of Oaxaca, Distrito Federal, and Hidalgo. The odds of a patient having flame burns were significantly associated with poverty percentage (p < 0.0001) and population density (p = 0.0085). Increasing levels of poverty led to decrease in odds of a flame burn, but an increase in the odds of scald burns. Similarly, we found that increasing population density led to a decrease in the odds of a flame burn, but an increase in the odds of a scald burn. Conclusions: Burns in young children from Mexico who received medical care at this pediatric burn center were attributed to flame and scalds. Potential demographic associations have been identified. Different states in Mexico have diverse cultural and socioeconomic variables that may influence the etiology of burns in young children and this information may help efficiently tailor burn prevention campaigns for burn prevention efforts in each region. Applicability of research to practice: This information will be used to develop and help modify existing prevention campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1278
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Burns
  • Epidemiology
  • Mexico
  • Population density
  • Poverty
  • Prevention
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Poverty, population density, and the epidemiology of burns in young children from Mexico treated at a U.S. pediatric burn facility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this