The objective of this study was to describe a population of children admitted to a tertiary care pediatric hospital with severe trauma to identify key areas for injury prevention research, and programming.
Retrospective chart review conducted on all children 0-17 years admitted to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) between April 1, 1996, and March 31, 2000, following acute trauma. Each record was reviewed and assigned an ISS using the AIS 1990 revision. All cases with an ISS > 11 were included in the study.
There were 2610 trauma cases admitted to CHEO over the study period. Of these, 237 (9.1%) had severe trauma (ISS > 11). Sixty-two percent were male. Twenty-nine percent were between the ages of 10 and 14 years, 27% between 5 and 9 years, 16% between 15 and 17 years, 15% between 1 and 4 years, and 13% less than 1 year old. The most common mechanisms of injury were due to motor vehicle traffic (39%), falls (24%), child abuse (8%), and sports (5%). Of those resulting from motor vehicle traffic, 53 (57%) were occupants, 22 (24%) were pedestrians, and 18 (19%) were cyclists. When combining traffic and nontraffic mechanisms, 26 (11% of all severe trauma cases) occurred as a result of cycling incidents. The most severe injury in 65% of patients was to the head and neck body region.
Research efforts and activities to prevent severe pediatric trauma in our region should focus on road safety, protection from head injuries, avoidance of falls, and prevention of child abuse.