To describe the residual physical problems 1 year after traffic injuries in children with respect to age, gender, extraction (Swedish or foreign), type of care, type of accident and use of protective equipment, type of injury, and the impact on daily living activities.
Hospital data were analysed for children, aged 15 or under, after road traffic accidents in the Gothenburg region in 2000. Age, gender, type of road user, counterpart, use of protective equipment, type and severity of each injury, and type of care were related to follow-up data obtained by a self-completed questionnaire answered 1 year after the accident. The AIS90 was used for injury classification. Residual physical problems were specified, graded, and mapped on anatomical pictures of the body by the respondents. Logistic regression was used to explore independent factors for residual problems.
A total of 341 children (81%) fulfilled the study. Cyclists dominated, 60%, followed by moped users, car occupants and pedestrians. The mean age was 11 years, 61% were boys, 16% were of foreign extraction, 26% were treated as inpatients, and 11% had at least one serious (AIS3+) injury. Residual problems were reported for 16% of the study group (n=53), and of these 31% were located to the lower extremities (mostly knee problems), upper extremities in 20%, face in 14%, neck in 14%, upper trunk in 8%, lower trunk in 8%, and skull/brain in 3%. Significant permanent impairment was reported in one case. Cyclists reported problems significantly less frequently than others. Children reporting problems tended to be older and were most often injured as moped users. Problems to the neck and the upper trunk were reported to a higher rate than the injury rate in these regions. Children with residual problems reported limitations in daily living activities after the accident more often than those without residual physical problems.
Residual physical problems were reported in about one sixth of the study group, few with serious problems. The risk of residual problems should be recognised in older children, especially after moped accidents, and also in children with neck problems.