Horse-related injuries in pediatric patients

J Pediatr Surg. 2000 Dec;35(12):1766-70. doi: 10.1053/jpsu.2000.19247.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics, nature, severity and outcome of injuries from horse-related trauma in pediatric patients, aged of 19 years or younger.

Methods: Retrospective analysis was conducted of 315 patients recorded in the National Pediatric Trauma Registry from February 1995 to August 1999.

Results: A total of 62% of the 315 patients were girls. The median age of injury was 10 years. Sixty-five percent of the patients were injured while mounted on a horse, and the most common mechanism of injury was falling off the horse. The most frequent reason for hospital admission was skeletal fractures followed by head injuries. The head, neck, and face area was the most commonly injured anatomic site, followed by the upper extremity, the abdomen, and then the lower extremity. The median length of stay in the hospital was 2 days. Forty percent of the patients needed treatment in the intensive care unit with a median length of stay of 2 days. Thirty-nine percent of patients underwent surgical procedures. The Injury Severity Score ranged from moderate to critical in 31.5% of the children. There were 8 deaths, 2.5% of the injured children. The most common cause of mortality was head injuries. Of the 307 survivors, 3% were discharged to a rehabilitation center, and 2% of the children had 1 or more functional impairments lasting longer than 7 months after discharge.

Conclusions: Horse-related trauma is frequent in children and can cause severe injuries resulting in death and long-term disability. Awareness of the nature of injuries is important to avoid underestimation of their severity.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology