Abstract The objectives of this study were to verify which circumstances are present in burn accidents of patients under 12 years of age and to gather information to ground strategies to prevent those accidents. Parents or guardians of 26 patients aged under 12 years, admitted to the burns unit of the Clinical Hospital of Ribeirão Preto Medical School, Brazil, were interviewed, from March 1996 to March 1997. Fifty percent of the injured children were under 3 years of age and had suffered a scald. The kitchen and the backyard were identified as the places where the majority of accidents (84.6%) happened. At least one parent was present in 80.7% of cases. The results speak for the necessity of implementation of programs to prevent burn accidents, focusing on the domestic setting, chiefly activities in the kitchen.