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Burns from motorcycle exhausts among children in New South Wales: a continuing problem

To the Editor: Burns remain a common occurrence among children, with scalds accounting for 55% of these injuries in Australia and New Zealand.1 Although a less frequent mechanism, contact burns now account for up to 30% of all burns among children.1,2 The Burns Unit (BU) at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead serves the paediatric population of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Recently, our BU has identified a rise in the number of contact burns from motorcycle exhausts among children.

Following Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Human Research Ethics Committee approval, we performed a retrospective case series review of children ≤ 16 years of age who were referred to our BU between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2011 and who had sustained contact burns from the exhausts of either adult or children’s motorcycles.

Over the 4-year study period, there were 96 children with motorcycle exhaust contact burns, 75 (78%) of whom were male. The mean age was 8.6 years. Forty-five (47%) of the burns occurred in backyards; 16 (17%) occurred on farms; 14 (15%) occurred…

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