Background: . In Israel, nearly 10,000 children are hospitalized due to injury every year.
Objectives: To define injury patterns in subgroups of the pediatric population, in order to focus prevention programs on vulnerable groups.
Methods: A retrospective study of Israel's National Trauma Registry (ITR) data on patients aged 0-17 years hospitalized between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2002 due to trauma. Data includes patient demographic details, information on the injury, hospital resource utilization, length of stay and outcome. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize injury patterns and bivariate and multivariate analysis was used to compare injury severity and cause between population groups.
Results: A total of 32,009 children were included. Falls were the cause of injury for 51% of the population, 6% of falls sustaining severe injuries (ISS 16+). Road traffic accidents (RTA) injured 23%, of which 14% were severe injuries. Burns (7%) accounted for long hospitalizations -- nearly 20% stayed for over 14 days. Crude data showed that the proportion of severe injuries and inpatient death rate among non-Jewish children was double that of Jewish children (12% vs 6% and 1% vs 0.5%, respectively (chi2, p<0.0001)). When looking at children from low socio-economic status (SES) townships, the difference in proportion of severe injuries between Jewish and non-Jewish children is reduced, yet it remains higher in non-Jewish than among Jewish children (7% vs 5%) (chi2, p=0.0001). These results were verified by multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusting for SES, age, gender and external injury cause. Non-Jewish children had a significantly higher rate of burns (10% vs 6%), falls from heights above 2.5 meters (16% vs 6% of all falls) and pedestrian injuries (51% vs 37% of all injured in RTA). When SES is taken into account, the only outstanding injury among non-Jewish children is fall from height: 13%, n=376 among non-Jewish children vs 8%, n=85 among Jewish children, living in townships with low SES cluster (1-4) (chi2, p<0.0001).
Conclusions: The findings of this study show that there is variability in external cause of injury and severity by age and ethnic group. Falls were most frequent among young children and burns among non-Jews. Non-Jewish children in SES clusters 1-4 are at high risk for falls from height, suggesting intervention and prevention activities should be directed in this direction.