Incidence of Paediatric Scald Burns during Western Australia’s COVID 19 lockdown

Dr Dylan Prunster1, Dr Rachael Baines1, Dr Helen Douglas1

1Perth Children’s Hospital – Burn’s Unit, Perth, Australia



COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in our society; not least of which are government-implemented lockdowns. Western Australia (W.A.) has been lucky to have relatively low rates of COVID-19 within the community and subsequently has had few and short duration lockdowns. We evaluate the effect of the first and largest W.A. lockdown on the incidence of paediatric scald burns.


We performed a retrospective comparison of the Western Australian Burns database for the longest lockdown period in W.A., from 23/03/2020 to 24/04/2020, to a similar period from the following year 23/03/2021 to 24/04/2021 (control period).


During the lockdown period, 19 patients were admitted or reviewed in the outpatient setting for a paediatric scald burn compared to 5 patients during the control period. 5 patients were admitted during the lockdown period and 4 during control period.


In this data comparison the results indicate a significant rise in the incidence of paediatric scalds during W.A’s longest lockdown. This result supports results from other burns units around the world. It appears the increase is predominantly in small TBSA% burns from hot beverages.


D’Asta, F, Choong, J, Thomas, C, Adamson, J, Wilson, Y, Wilson, D, Moiemen, N & Farroha, A 2020, “Paediatric burns epidemiology during COVID-19 pandemic and ‘stay home’ era,” Burns, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 1471–1472.


Dr Dylan Prunster is a surgical service registrar working within the West Australian Health Department with a keen interest in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He obtained his primary medical qualification from the University of Western Australia and subsequently undertook an internship and residency at Royal Perth Hospital.

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