Grease fryers: A significant danger to children

Steven R. Allen, Richard J. Kagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Scald injuries in children often occur as the result of them pulling a container of hot liquid off a countertop or stove. To date, there have been no studies that have specifically examined the impact of the burning agent after this mechanism of injury on the magnitude of injury or the hospital resources consumed in caring for these patients. In this study, we sought to compare the extent and depth of injury, hospital resources consumed, and outcomes of children burned by pulling a container of grease or other liquid onto themselves. We retrospectively reviewed all cases of children who were admitted to our pediatric burn center from January 1995 through December 2001 who sustained scald injuries as the result of pulling a container of hot liquid onto himself or herself. Patients were evaluated for extent TBSA burned, depth of injury, the need for skin grafts, and the number of ventilator, days in the intensive care unit, and total hospital days (length of stay). We identified 196 children admitted with scald injuries caused by this mechanism. Fifty-four (27.6%) were caused by grease or oil, and 142 (72.6%) were caused by other liquids. The mean age of children burned by this mechanism was approximately 3 years, and slightly more than half were males. The mean TBSA and full-thickness burn was 18.3% and 8.1% for the grease group and 14.4% and 4.5% for the no-grease group, respectively (P < .05). Fifty-six percent of those children burned with grease required skin grafting compared with only 34% of those burned by other liquids. Twenty percent of the patients burned by grease required ventilator support compared with only 6.3% of those burned by other liquids (P < .01). Of those burned by grease, 22.2% required care in the intensive care unit compared with only 6.3% of those burned by other liquids (P < .005). Mean length of stay was 16.8 ± 2.5 days and 9.1 ± 1.0 days for the grease and nongrease groups, respectively (P < .001). Scalds caused by children pulling a grease fryer onto themselves result in more extensive and deeper injuries and greater consumption of hospital resources than those from other liquids. These findings support the need for safer product design and more specific warnings in product labeling and instructions as to the danger of severe scald injury to minimize the occurrence of such injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-460
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • General Health Professions


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