Children's injuries in a Scottish district general hospital

Injury. 2005 Sep;36(9):1040-4. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2004.09.011.


Background: Injury is a common cause of emergency department (ED) attendance but there are few data published on the spectrum of paediatric injury in a typical district general hospital (DGH). This study aimed to provide a complete picture of injury presentations to such a centre.

Methods: Prospective questionnaire study of consecutive paediatric attendances at a DGH ED in Scotland (annual attendance 53,500 patients) due to injury or poisoning. Paediatric in this context was defined as less than 14 years on the day of presentation. Admission rates were identified from the hospital information system and information on deaths was sought from the local Procurator Fiscal (the Scottish equivalent of the Coroner).

Results: One thousand three hundred and seventy-eight questionnaires were completed from a potential 10,697 eligible patients. Safety devices (helmets, belts, etc.) were in use in only 99 cases. Cycle helmets were used in 26% of cycle incidents and seat belts were used in 71% of car incidents. Cycling and pedestrian incidents were more common during the summer months and outside school hours. Adult supervision was present in 49% of incidents. Seventy-three percent of incidents at school were unsupervised. There were 5.6 admissions to hospital per day in the 0-13 years age group for all causes, with little seasonal variation in admission rates. There were three deaths during the year, two from SIDS and one due to choking, all in infants.

Conclusion: Trauma is a common cause of ED attendance in children. Preventative measures are still underutilised and could make a significant impact on the incidence of children's injuries and possibly ED attendances. Cycle helmets could play a major role in injury prevention in school age children in this area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls
  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Bicycling / injuries
  • Child
  • Child Care
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergencies / epidemiology
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology