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 systematic review evaluates the literature on abusive and non-abusive burns.

About the review

This systematic review evaluates the scientific literature on burns published 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.

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 NSPCC
Published by RCPCH July 2017

While the format of each review has been revised to fit the style of the College and amalgamated into a comprehensive document, the content remains unchanged until reviewed and new evidence is identified and added to the evidence-base. Updated content will be indicated on individual review pages.