The incidence of traumatic brain injury among children in the United States: differences by race

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2005 May-Jun;20(3):229-38. doi: 10.1097/00001199-200505000-00006.


Objective: This report summarizes the epidemiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department (ED) visits by race among children aged 0-14 years in the United States. Few other studies have reported the incidence of TBI in this population by race.

Methods: Data from 3 nationally representative sources maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics were used to report the annual numbers and rates of TBI-related deaths, hospitalizations, and ED visits during 1995-2001 by race, age, and external cause of injury.

Results: An estimated 475,000 TBIs occurred among children aged 0-14 each year. Rates were highest among children aged 0-4. For children aged 0-9 years, both death and hospitalization rates were significantly higher for blacks than whites for motor vehicle-traffic-related TBIs.

Conclusion: With nearly half a million children affected each year, TBI is a serious public health problem. Variation in rates by race suggest the need to more closely examine the factors that contribute to these differences, such as the external causes of the injury and associated modifiable factors (e.g., the use of seatbelts and child safety seats).

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Brain Injuries / ethnology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*