Twitter  Linkedin
 
Flame Time of Cigarette Lighter Necessary to Achieve Temperature Capable of Inflicting Skin Burn

Back to 2nd Annual Meeting Posters


Flame Time of Cigarette Lighter Necessary to Achieve Temperature Capable of Inflicting Skin Burn
Maria McColgan, MD, Svetlana Harel, DO, Brooke Burkey, MD and Christine Campbell, RN, BSN, MS, SANE-A, SANE-P, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia PA

Objective:
Background: Up to 20% of burn injuries are non-accidental. Cigarette lighters are frequently used in non-accidental contact burns, leaving a characteristic burn pattern on the skin. A history of accidental burn is often offered. To differentiate accidental from inflicted burns, the time and temperature needed to cause thermal injury has been studied with water and irons. This study examines the time needed to heat a cigarette lighter to a temperature capable of inflicting a skin burn.
Methods: Through literature search the time and temperature at which partial or full thickness skin burns are acquired, regardless of the vector used. We analyzed results from multiple studies on scald burns and electrical iron burns. Using a Ray-tech heat gun, a local fire department measured the time and temperature of the metal on a red ACE lighter and a green BIC lighter at ten second intervals while sustaining a flame at maximum and the cooling temperatures at 10 seconds intervals once the flame was extinguished.
Results: The literature showed that the lowest temperature required to cause partial thickness burns in one second ranged from 55oC to 80oC. The lowest temperature required to cause full thickness burns in one second was 60oC to 98oC. Studies reviewed included both scald burns and iron burns inflicted on both human and animal skin. Our field studies showed that from an initial temperature of the lighter prior to flame ignition of 24.6oC, it took approximately 60 seconds for the lighter temperature to reach 55oC using a red ACE lighter and 50 seconds using a green BIC lighter. After reaching the maximum temperature of 80oC, at 130 seconds for the Green BIC lighter and 140 seconds for the red ACE lighter, the lighters were shut off. It then took less than 10 seconds for the green BIC lighter and approximately 10 seconds for the red ACE lighter to cool down to less than 55oC. Conclusion: Our study shows that it takes at least 60 seconds to heat a cigarette lighter to a temperature capable of inflicting a partial or full thickness skin burn. Furthermore, the lighter cools down quickly. This time is likely longer than the time required to light a cigarette.
Objective: At the end of this activity, the learner will be able to identify the time required to reach minimum temperature to cause a skin burn by a lighter.Objective Content: By utilizing literature research and Ray-tech gun the temperature to inflict a burn pattern by lighter will be discussed.


Back to 2nd Annual Meeting Posters