When Do Burn Injuries Occur in Australia and New Zealand?

Burns are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Understanding when and how burns occur, as well as the differences between countries, would aid prevention efforts.

International research has demonstrated certain times of day where burn injury figures appear to rise and fall considerably.

For example, peaks in burn injuries occur at midday and 4pm in the United Arab Emirates. In contrast, in Taiwan burns spike between 4-6pm and again at 10pm to midnight.

Recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Hong and colleagues aimed to identify the peak times when burn injuries occurred in Australia and New Zealand, as well as describe the demographic and injury event characteristics of affected patient populations.

Admissions data were extracted from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand for patients injured between July 2009 and June 2021. Patients with missing or unknown time of injury data were excluded.

Time of injury data was grouped according to the hour the injury occurred in. The hour period(s) when the greatest number of injuries occurred were deemed the “peak” injury time.

There were 26,925 admissions recorded across the two countries (23,323 for Australia; 3602 for New Zealand).

The greatest number of injuries occurred between 6 PM to 7 PM in Australia (1871, 8.0%) and between 5 PM to 6 PM in New Zealand (280, 7.8%).

In both countries, scalds accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries during peak times (988, 45.8%), but a greater proportion of young children (under three years) sustained burns during New Zealand’s peak times.

Although peak burn injury times varied slightly between Australia and New Zealand, there was a strong link between the timing of burns and cooking.

The number of burn injuries associated with the preparation and/or consumption of food offers an opportunity for a targeted prevention program that may yield benefits across the two countries.

Age- and mechanism-related differences in the profile of burn-injured patients need to be considered when developing and implementing such a program.

Read the full paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health titled Comparing Peak Burn Injury Times and Characteristics in Australia and New Zealand here. This is an open access paper, meaning it can be freely viewed and downloaded by anyone at any time (no login or paywalls).

Please contact corresponding author Dr Lincoln Tracy (lincoln[dot]tracy[at]monash[dot]edu) if you are unable to access the article.