Burns

What are burns?

Burns are a type of injury caused by heat. The heat can be thermal, electrical, chemical, or electromagnetic energy. Most burn accidents occur at home. About 75 percent of all burn injuries in children are preventable.

Smoking and open flame are the leading causes of burn injury for older adults, while scalding is the leading cause of burn injury for children. Both infants and the elderly are at the greatest risk for burn injury.

What are the different types of burns?

A burn injury usually results from an energy transfer to the body. There are many types of burns caused by thermal, radiation, chemical, or electrical contact:

  • Thermal burns. Burns due to external heat sources which raise the temperature of the skin and tissues and cause tissue cell death or charring. Hot metals, scalding liquids, steam, and flames, when coming in contact with the skin, can cause thermal burns.
  • Radiation burns. Burns caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun, or to other sources of radiation such as X-ray.
  • Chemical burns. Burns caused by strong acids, alkalies, detergents, or solvents coming into contact with the skin and/or eyes.
  • Electrical burns. Burns from electrical current, either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).
Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

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Trauma and Burn Surgery

Children's National has the only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center in the Washington, DC, area and accepts trauma patients from all geographic areas. We partner with the Maryland Shock Trauma System to provide coverage in Montgomery, Prince Georges', St. Mary's, Calvert, and Charles counties.

Dermatology

The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Health System continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Our team of pediatric plastic surgeons have dedicated their careers to plastic surgery procedures for babies, children, and teens.

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Addie's Story

"One thing to remember as parents going through a medical difficulty, is that no matter how long your stay may be, even if it is planned or unexpected, you will get through it."

Read More of Addie's Story