Children are one of the population groups most susceptible to burn injuries. Sadly, children also tend to suffer most from these injuries. Extremely careful care is necessary for a child with a serious burn injury and medical care often must continue throughout the child's growing years and into their adult life.
According to the American Burn Association, burn injuries to children under the age of 16 account for about 38,000 reported cases every year.
Why Are Burn Injuries in Children So Serious?
Children have an especially rough time recovering from burn injuries for several reasons. First, they are simply smaller than adults. The same incident will burn a greater percentage of a child's skin than it will burn an adult's.
Second, children have years of growing still to do. After the initial skin grafts and other surgeries, children must be monitored constantly as scars develop. If not monitored, scars, such as contractures, can inhibit the movement of tendons, muscles and skin tissue preventing the child's natural growth and possibly resulting in deformation.
Medical Treatments for Children With Burn Injuries
In general, your child's doctor will prescribe the same treatments, medications and surgeries as for an adult burn victim. The precise treatments prescribed will depend on the child's age, general health, and the extent and type of burn.
Scar management techniques for children will include the use of medical devices like pressure garments. However, these garments must be monitored very closely; as the child grows, even slightly, the garment will need to be refitted. Children will often require multiple surgeries as part of the scar management program.
Rehabilitation for Children With Burn Injuries
The goal of rehabilitation is the same for children as for adults with burn injuries. Your child will work with a pediatric physical therapist, and the specific tasks and exercises will be different from those assigned to an adult. The physical therapy regimen will also depend on your child's age and the extent of the burn injury