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Triage of children in an Emergency Department


To secure the best primary treatment of children a nationwide triage system has been instituted. The aim of this study was to evaluate the primary implementation in an Emergency Department(ED).


Through a retrospective evaluation of medical records vital parameters and triage assessments made by an ED nurse were collected. Children younger than 13 years of age with no referral from a doctor were included (from October to December 2012) (n=127).


A total of 81.9% (n=104) of the children were registered with triage colour indicating the level of urgency. This was done within a mean of 26.4 minutes from time of arrival. Children younger than 1 year old were significantly more likely not to be triaged compared to children older than 1 year old RR 2.78 (95% CI 1.31-5.93) (p=0.0249). Distribution of triage was; green (lowest level) 58.3%, yellow 24.4%, orange 16.5% and red (highest level) 0.9%. In 22.1% of the patients we identified a lower triage level than given with the vital parameters . The greatest risk of being under-triaged was found among children between 3-7 years (39.4%).


A simple and clear triage system is of great importance in order to get a well functioning triage in an ED. We showed that special attention should be given to infants to secure proper triage and that children from 3-7 years of age is at the highest risk of being under-triaged.

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Correspondence to Dennis Graversen.

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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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Graversen, D., Kirkedal, AB.K. Triage of children in an Emergency Department. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 21 (Suppl 2), A49 (2013).

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