Children’s perceptions of the causation and prevention of childhood burn injuries
Titi, Neziswa V.V.
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South Africa has a high rate of children’s burn injuries with 1300 deaths annually. These burn injuries are considered preventable and South African research has identified this as a priority concern. South African childhood burn injury studies have mainly focused on expert and parents’/caregivers’ descriptions and accounts. Despite their particular vulnerability, children’s perspectives have not been consistently accommodated in the identification of childhood injury risk phenomena or in the development and implementation of safety interventions. Using a qualitative approach this study investigates children’s perceptions of causation and prevention of burn injuries. Study data was collected from Khayelitsha, Site C and Philippi, Samora Machel in Cape Town as these areas have reported elevated rates of thermal and fire-related burn injuries. Study data were collected using three isiXhosa focus group discussions based on a convenience sample of 10 – 11 years old children ranging between 4 – 6 participants per group. They were selected based on verbal ability, age, residential area and ability to speak either English or isiXhosa. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the results. The themes demonstrate that children appreciate the magnitude of burns in their communities and attribute the problem to factors ranging from themselves, their social conditions and mostly their parents/caregivers. The children emphasized the importance of parental supervision and risk avoidance by the child and adults in prevention. This study recommends an integrated approach to burn injury prevention interventions and calls for the inclusion of children in studies concerning the wellbeing and safety of children.