Child Protection Evidence - Burns

Child Protection Evidence is a resource available for clinicians across the UK and internationally to inform clinical practice, child protection procedures and professional and expert opinion in the legal system. This review evaluates the literature on abusive and non-abusive burns.

Review updated: October 2016

About the review

The systematic review evaluates the scientific literature on burns published up until October 2016.

It aims to answer the following clinical questions: 

  • What are the clinical and social features that distinguish intentional and accidental scalds in children, 
  • What are the features of intentional non-scald burns, 
  • What conditions mimic intentional burns
  • How do you identify a burn due to neglect? 

The implications for practice and research, and other useful references are included in the review.

Key findings

  • Other signs of physical abuse such as fractures, abusive head trauma or abdominal injury may also be present in children with non-accidental burns.
  • A scalds triage tool has been developed which aims to guide clinicians about the features most associated with intentional scalds, those where intentional scalds must be considered and those where an intentional scald is unlikely.

Systematic review on Burns (PDF, 304 KB, 40 Pages)


Disclaimer: This 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.

Original reviews and content © Cardiff University. funded by NCPCC
Updates and new material © RCPCH