Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Thermal causes., AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 28 January 2022
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Thermal causes. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/thermal-causes
Thermal causes. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 09 December 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/thermal-causes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Thermal causes [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 Jan. 28]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/thermal-causes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Thermal causes, viewed 28 January 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/thermal-causes
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Thermal causes of injury include exposure to smoke, fire and flames as well as contact with hot substances and heat sources, such as hot food and drinks, and household appliances.
Contact with hot drinks, food, fats and cooking oils was the most common thermal cause of injury. Children under 5, especially boys, were most at risk of serious injury due to thermal causes.
In 2018–19, thermal causes resulted in:
23 per 100,000 population
0.4 per 100,000 population
This represents 1.1% of injury hospitalisations and 0.7% of injury deaths.
Bushfire injuries fall in this category. Data from the 2019–20 bushfire season will be included in the next update.
This page summarises data on unintentional thermal injuries. Intentional injuries and deaths are included under Assault and homicide or Self-harm and suicide.
1. Rates are crude per 100,000 population, calculated using estimated resident population as at 31 December of the relevant year.
2. Percentages may not equal total due to rounding.
3. Codes in brackets refer to the ICD-10-AM (10th edition) external cause codes (ACCD 2017).
Source: AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database.
For more detail, see Data tables B13–14.
The age-standardised rate of hospitalisations due to thermal causes in 2018–19 was 0.7% lower than a year earlier. Over the period from 2009–10 to 2016–17 there was an average annual decrease of 1.2%.
There is a break in the time series for hospitalisations between 2016–17 and 2017–18 due to a change in data collection methods (see the Technical notes for details).
For deaths due to thermal causes, there was an average annual decrease in rate between 2009–10 and 2018–19 of 2.1% (Figure 1).
The visualisation features 2 matching line graphs on separate tabs, 1 for hospitalisations and 1 for deaths. The 3 lines represent the trend for males, females and persons from 20098–10 to 2018–19 for hospitalisations and deaths. The reader can select to display rate per 100,000 population or number.
For more detail, see Data tables C1–7 and E1–4.
Rates of thermal injury hospitalisation and death differ for males and females, especially for certain age groups.
From thermal injuries in 2018–19:
The visualisation features 2 matching column graphs on separate tabs, 1 for hospitalisations and 1 for deaths. The columns represent sex within 6 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display either age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The default displays males and females and the reader can also select to display persons.
For more detail, see Data tables A1–3 and D1–3.
There are many ways that the severity, or seriousness, of an injury could be assessed. Using the available data, three measures of the severity of hospitalised injuries are:
The average number of days in hospital for thermal injuries was longer than for all injuries, and the percentage of thermal cases that included time in an ICU and/or involved continuous ventilatory support were higher than for hospitalised injuries.
Average number of days in hospital
% of cases with time in an ICU
% of cases involving continuous ventilatory support
Note: Average number of days in hospital (length of stay) includes admissions that are transfers from 1 hospital to another or transfers from 1 admitted care type to another within the same hospital, except where care involves rehabilitation procedures.
For more detail, see Data tables A12–13.
In 2018–19, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
Rate (per 100,000)
Note: Rates are crude per 100,000 population.
In 2018–19, Indigenous Australians were 2.8 times as likely as other Australians to be hospitalised due to a thermal injury (Table 4). Deaths are not compared due to the small number.
1. Rates are age-standardised to the 2001 Australian population (per 100,000).
2. 'Other Australians’ includes cases where Indigenous status is missing or not stated.
The age-specific rate of injury hospitalisations due to thermal causes was highest among the 0–4 age group for both Indigenous and other Australians (Figure 3). Deaths are not presented because of the small number.
The visualisation features a column graph for hospitalisations. The columns represent data for Indigenous and other Australians by 6 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The reader can also select to display data for persons, males or females.
For more detail, see Data tables A4–A6 and D4–D8.
In 2018–19, people living in Very remote areas were 4.3 times as likely as people living in Major cities to be hospitalised by a thermal injury (Table 5).
Deaths data are not presented because of small numbers.
Note: Rates are age-standardised per 100,000 population.
In 2018–19, the age-specific rate for thermal injury hospitalisations by remoteness area was highest for children aged 0–4 living in Very remote areas (Figure 4).
The visualisation features a column graph for hospitalisations. The columns represent data for each of the 5 remoteness categories by 6 life-stage age groups. The reader can select to display age-specific rate per 100,000 population or number. The reader can also select to display data for persons, males or females.
For more detail, see Data tables A7–A9 and D9–D10.
For information on how statistics by remoteness are calculated, see the Technical notes.
Defining injury hospitalisations and deaths: how injuries were counted
Technical notes: read about how the data were calculated.
Data tables: download full data tables.
ACCD (Australian Consortium for Classification Development) 2017. The international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM), 10th edn. Tabular list of diseases and alphabetic index of diseases. Adelaide: Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), Lane Publishing.
The following are publications from recent years that include information on thermal causes of injury. See Reports for any older publications that may exist.
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