Electrical Injuries in Urban Children in New Delhi

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The objective of this study was to analyze the epidemiology, presentation, management, and complications of electrical burn injuries in urban children.


Data from records and clinical data were collected retrospectively and prospectively during 2008 to 2010.


Of 41 children enrolled, the mean age of children enrolled was 8.1 ± 4.5 years. Low-voltage injury was seen in 28 (68.2%), and 13 (31.8%) had high-voltage injuries. Low-voltage injuries were most commonly (52.45%) secondary to direct contact with live wire, whereas high-voltage injuries in 70% were due to direct contact with broken wires lying in fields/rooftops. Fourteen children of the 41 enrolled had associated injuries. Low-voltage injuries were associated with minor burns, seizures, tibial fracture, eyelid burn, scalp hematoma, and speech and visual impairment, whereas high-voltage injuries were associated with cardiac arrest, extradural hematoma, visceral burns, pulmonary hemorrhage and hypoxic encephalopathy, and postelectrocution acute respiratory distress syndrome. Surgical interventions done included split-thickness skin grafting, fasciotomy, and amputation procedures. The mean duration of hospital stay of all the children enrolled was 9.02 days with 35 children discharged, 71.4% of them having low-voltage injuries. Four children died, 75% of them having high-voltage injury, whereas 2 children left without medical advice, both having low-voltage injuries.


Children are a major group susceptible to electrical injuries in our country. Most of the mechanisms leading to them are easily preventable, but occur because of lack or awareness among the children and their guardians. Burn prevention program should be implemented incorporating these epidemiological data.

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