Comic Books Can Educate Children About Burn Safety in Developing Countries

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Burns in developing countries account for significant morbidity and many occur within the pediatric population. This study investigates whether a comic book can increase burn awareness in primary school age children, both domestically and abroad. Based on demographic data regarding pediatric burns in developing nations, a comic book was developed to educate primary school age children on key risk factors regarding burn safety, including teaching children to not touch active stoves, not to light fireworks without supervision, and to “stop, drop, and roll” after burn injury. Students, aged 5 to 7 years, in both West Virginia, United States (N = 74), and West Bengal, India (N = 39), answered a three-question survey regarding these issues both before and after reading the comic book. Groups were compared using Fisher's exact test and significance was defined as P < .05. Initially, students answered 67.8 and 66.9% of the questionnaire correctly overall in West Virginia and West Bengal, respectively. These scores improved to 81.6 and 99.1% (P < .01 for each group), respectively, after reading the comic as a class. Specifically, there were significant increases in both groups for the questions regarding avoiding hot stoves (P < .01) and fireworks (P < .01). The lesson required 30 minutes total per class. The teachers reported that students enjoyed reading the comic and were engaged during the sessions. This study demonstrates that a comic book has value in teaching children about burn awareness. Comic books may be a cost-effective method as an outreach tool for children.

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