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Age-related differences in injury pattern and hospital stay after paediatric trauma


It is estimated that children account for around 10% of all trauma admissions. While few studies describe paediatric trauma, only one British study has described age-related differences after paediatric trauma [1].


To describe age-related differences in paediatric trauma patients admitted to a Danish level 1 trauma center.


We included 331 paediatric trauma patients admitted during the 9-year period 1999-2007. Subjects were studied with respect to four age groups (<1 year [n=20], 1-5 years [n=119], 6-10 years [n=72], and 11-15 years [n=120]). We analysed the groups with regard to injury type and mechanism, injury severity score (ISS), and length of stay. p<0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Injury type and mechanism were significantly different between the four groups (p<0.0001). The leading cause of trauma were burn injuries (65%) in patients aged less than 1 year, burn injuries (49%) and blunt trauma (49%) in children between 1-5 years, and blunt trauma (81%/82%) in 6-10 and 11-15 year old children. Mechanisms of blunt trauma were mainly road traffic accidents, followed by fall accidents. In total, eight (2%) patients had penetrating trauma.

ISS increased with age, however not significantly (p=0.19), median ISS 9, 9, 10, and 11 respectively.

With increasing age, a significant decline in total length of stay was observed, median 20, 15, 9, and 9 days respectively (p=0.005). However, patients aged 6 or more had a significantly longer stay at the ICU, median 0, 0, 1, and 1 day respectively (p=0.002).


Burn injuries were the leading cause of trauma in children aged less than 1 year, while burn injuries and blunt trauma occurred equally in 1-5 year old children. Children older than 6 years were more often implicated in blunt trauma, predominantly road traffic accidents and fall accidents. This age-related difference in injury pattern was reflected in the total length of stay that decreased with advancing age.


  1. Bayreuther J, Wagener S, Woodford M, Edwards A, Lecky F, Bouamra O, Dykes E: Pediatric trauma: injury pattern and mortality in the UK. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2009, 94: 37-41. 10.1136/adc.2007.132787.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Do, H., Steinmetz, J. & Rasmussen, L. Age-related differences in injury pattern and hospital stay after paediatric trauma. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 20 (Suppl 1), O8 (2012).

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