THE Health Ministry has raised concern about cases of children below five years old getting burnt at home.
And it has reported the matter to the police for further investigation as the incidents are believed to have been the result of parental negligence.
While the ministry has yet to disclose the burns statistics from the Northern, Central and Eastern divisions, its statistics from the Western Division alone are alarming.
Being the referral hospital for the division, Lautoka Hospital caters for all serious cases from the sub-divisional hospitals.
Of the 35 burns cases admitted at Lautoka Hospital so far this year, half were children below five years old, said Health Ministry spokesman Shalvin Deo.
Mr Deo said the youngest burns victim was eight months old while the oldest child was five years old.
He said of the 35 burns cases recorded at Lautoka Hospital this year, 18 were children below five years old, with the latest being a two-year-old boy.
Of the 18 children from the iTaukei and Fijians of Indian descent communities, 10 were boys and eight girls.
"They were admitted at the hospital mostly due to scalded burns, superficial, partial thickness burns," he said.
"The latest admission we have is a two-year-old boy who has suffered 28 per cent partial thickness burns. He was playing when he accidentally toppled a kettle of hot water, which poured on the floor and caused the injury."
Mr Deo said the two-year-old boy would undergo skin grafting. The other burns patients also needed surgery.
"The cases are of great concern to us and it appears that some parents are careless in the homes.
"When children get burnt at that tender age, then their face or other parts of the body gets deformed and they need surgery.
"Such incidents also put the lives of children at risk. We have also seen some cases of children accidentally drinking kerosene."
Mr Deo said burns cases attended to at hospitals were reported to the police for investigations because of the issue of alleged parental negligence.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said police were aware of a handful of cases. She said police did not have the same number of cases as that stated by the Health Ministry.
"However, all cases that are brought to our attention will be investigated and to date no parent in the West has been charged with negligence," she said.
"However, if and when cases are brought to our attention and if there is sufficient evidence to prove so, then that will be the course of action we will pursue."