To examine the types and severity of injuries seen in the Emergency Department of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the circumstances surrounding the events.
A tertiary care hospital that serves a child population of 600,000 in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
Every sixth day's charts of children up to 17 years of age who visited the Emergency Department because of injuries between Sept. 1, 1984, and Aug. 31, 1985, were examined retrospectively.
A total of 2886 charts were reviewed. There were more boys than girls. Most (1354 [46.9%]) of the accidents had occurred at home. Falls and sports-related accidents were the leading causes of injury (in 1088 [37.7%] and 560 [19.4%] of the cases respectively). Most of the visits were for minor injuries (bumps, swellings, cuts, bruises and scrapes), and only 114 (4.0%) of the children were admitted to the hospital. Injuries from motor vehicle accidents accounted for the highest admission rate (17.4%). Important information regarding the circumstances surrounding the events (e.g., whether a seat belt or car seat was used) was frequently missing from the charts.
Nonfatal injuries are common, especially in or around the home, and remain a significant problem in our society in terms of radiographic and consulting fees, time off from school or work and pain. Given the difficulties in obtaining information on the circumstances surrounding the events prospective studies are needed. Factors related to the occurrence and severity of childhood injury and whether these factors can be altered remain a high priority for research.