Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Public Health


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Professor Jacques Oosthuizen

Second Supervisor

Kim Clark


Scald is the most common form of burn in young children, accounting for over 50% of all paediatric burn admissions in Western Australia (WA). Interventions implemented over the past few years focussed on prevention, first aid, and improved services postinjury (Department of Health Western Australia, 2009). The population of children in WA is rising and an epidemiological study was undertaken to assess changes in the profile of scald injury among WA children and to assess priorities for future action. Data were collected from all acute inpatient admissions presenting with scald injury for 1998 and 2008. These data were compared with state-wide admission data, local presentation data, population growth and shift within WA. Comparisons of types and severity of injury, treatments, healing, infection, remote and rural patients, first aid administered and by whom, and scar management were analysed. The incidence of scald injury was not reduced, but numbers of admissions were, possibly due to changes in patient management. The admitted wounds were larger, but did not require more surgery in 2008. An important group to target for preventive strategies were the 1-2 year olds who were scalded by hot drinks. The amount of first aid given by carers had not improved, and inappropriate substances were applied to wounds by carers as first aid treatments in both years, often influenced by culture. Alterations in analgesic drugs and administration routes meant less intramuscular injections for all children. Dressing type changed with the adoption of Acticoat™ dressings. Preadmission infection rates seem to be influenced by delayed presentation, non-metropolitan living and Aboriginality. Post discharge infection rates have increased.

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