Abstract Objective To study the epidemiologic characteristics of burns in the elderly patients to reduce risks. Methods Features, including causes, seasonality, co-morbidities and mortality among 280 burned patients over 60 years old, admitted to Burn Unit, Southwest Hospital from 1999 to 2006, were analyzed retrospectively. Results The incidence of burns in the elderly has been decreasing gradually from 4.35% in 1999 to 3.81% in 2006. The geriatric burns could happen any time during a year, but most frequently in summer and winter. Seventy percent of the geriatric burns were related to activities of daily life. The co-morbid conditions in the elderly, which comprised 83.9% of the victims, contributed to the burn outcomes. No difference in morbidity was found between rural and urban patients. However, mortality was significantly higher in the rural patients with 30% over TBSA burns. Conclusion The incidence of geriatric burns has been decreasing associated with social and individual living levels in China. However, the disparity in the mortality rates between rural and urban suggests investment in rural China is needed to reduce health inequalities.