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Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Burn Center Encourages Burn Prevention for Children, as part of National Burn Awareness Week Beginning Sunday, February 3

Monday, February 4, 2019

In 2018, West Penn Burn Center Saw Burn-Related Admissions Increase by 15 percent, Stressing the Importance of Education and Awareness for Children and Their Families

Pittsburgh, Pa – Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Burn Center is stressing the importance of burn prevention as the American Burn Association (ABA) kicked off its National Burn Awareness Week on Sunday. In 2018, the West Penn Burn Center saw burn-related injuries increase by 15 percent with scalds being the top reason for pediatric admissions.

Every year, the ABA designates the first week of February to mobilize organizations across the country to increase awareness of the frequency and causes of burn injury in America. In particular, the week sheds more light on the susceptibility of children when it comes to burn-related injuries. Each day, more than 300 children are seen in emergency rooms and two children die from burn injuries across the country.

West Penn Burn Center is the only burn center in the region to receive the honorable verification seal acknowledging excellence in pediatric burn management from the ABA and the American College of Surgeons. Every year, the clinical team treats roughly 500 new patients, averaging three to five pediatric admissions every month due to scalds.

“Children are particularly at high-risk for burns because of their immature motor and cognitive skills, dependence on adult supervision and inability to quickly identify and react to harmful situations, among other reasons,” said Ariel M Aballay, MD and director of the West Penn Burn Center. “At West Penn, we’re committed to providing a full spectrum of advanced care and support for children with burn injuries, and their families.”

Extending beyond clinical care, the West Penn Burn Center understands the psychological impacts of burn injuries, especially those that occur during adolescence. In addition to clinical consultation for patients, the Center hosts an annual summer Burn Camp at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Zelienople.

“Burn Camp offers the opportunity for kids to feel truly comfortable talking about their shared experiences, knowing that they will not be judged by their peers and reassured that they comprise their own unique community. We recognize that burns in children can be traumatic, life changing events,” continued Aballay.
And these events continue to occur at a consistent pace, according to the ABA. The proportion of burn center admissions due to scalds continues to increase each year, with scalds comprising 35 percent of all admissions to U.S. burn centers.

“A major component that will drive these numbers down is the ongoing efforts to educate children and their families while also equipping them with necessary resources that help to create safer environments at home and at school,” said Aballay. “To that end, the West Penn Burn Center offers free burn prevention and safety programs to local schools in its service region and to former patients, at no cost.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary milestone, the West Penn Burn Center was established in 1969 and is a national leader in innovative burn care. For more information on the Center or to learn more about its community-based programs, visit or call 412-578-5295.