Factors influencing pediatric injury in side impact collisions

J Trauma. 2001 Sep;51(3):469-77. doi: 10.1097/00005373-200109000-00008.


Background: Side impact collisions pose a great risk to children in crashes, but information about the injury mechanisms is limited.

Methods: This study involves a case series of children in side impact collisions who were identified through Partners for Child Passenger Safety, a large, child-focused crash surveillance system. The aim of the current study was to use in-depth crash investigations to identify injury mechanisms to children in side impact collisions.

Results: Ninety-three children in 55 side impact crashes were studied. Twenty-three percent (n = 22) of the children received an Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score > or = 2 (clinically significant) injury. In these 22 children, head (40%), extremity (23%), and abdominal injuries (21%) were the most common significant injuries. Cases that illustrate body region-specific injury mechanisms are discussed.

Conclusion: The cases revealed that serious injuries, particularly head injuries, occur even in minor crashes, and efforts should be made to make the interiors of vehicles more child occupant friendly. Lower extremity and abdominal injuries occurred because of contact with the intruding door. Design of vehicles to minimize crush should mitigate the occurrence and severity of these injuries.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abbreviated Injury Scale*
  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leg Injuries / etiology*
  • Male
  • Seat Belts