This is a retrospective study analysing 12,423 patients treated at our institution from 1 July 1988 to 30 June 1990. Burn incidence and mode of treatment were classified according to age and sex, as well as causative agent, place of the accident, length of treatment and outcome. 96.6 per cent of the patients were surgically treated, about 41 per cent of the patients were under 14 years of age. The most frequent cause of injury was related to meal preparation, with more than two-thirds of the accidents occurring at home. Only large or complicated burns (1094-8.8 per cent) were admitted, with 49 deaths occurring during this period. We conclude that children and younger adults are at greater risk of being burned and preventative measures should be oriented towards the prevention of such accidents.