Objective: To investigate differences in the characteristics of burn injuries leading to hospitalisation of Indigenous Australian and non-Indigenous children in New South Wales.
Design, setting: Population-based cohort analysis of linked hospital and mortality data for 2000–2014.
Participants: 35 749 Indigenous and 1 088 938 non-Indigenous children aged 0–13 years.
Main outcome measures: The external cause of the injury, its anatomic location, total body surface area affected (%TBSA), burn depth, length of hospital stay (LOS).
Results: 4246 non-Indigenous and 323 Indigenous children were hospitalised for a first burn injury during 2000–2014. A higher proportion of Indigenous than non-Indigenous children were admitted with burns affecting more than 10% TBSA (17% v 12%) and a lower proportion of Indigenous children than of non-Indigenous children were treated at a hospital with a paediatric tertiary referral burn unit (40% v 50%; P < 0.001). The mean LOS during the index admission was almost 3 days longer for Indigenous children than for non-Indigenous children (6.1 days [95% CI, 4.8–7.4 days] v 3.4 days [95% CI, 3.2–3.7 days]; P < 0.001); the difference in LOS was still statistically significant after adjusting for characteristics of the burn and residential location.
Conclusion: The proportion of Indigenous children with burns who presented with burn injuries affecting more than 10% TBSA was greater than for non-Indigenous children. Their mean LOS was also longer; the difference remained statistically significant after adjusting for characteristics of the burn and of residential location.
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