Purpose: The purpose of the study was to document prehospital analgesia (PA) for children with extremity injuries at home or en route to the hospital, as assessed by research personnel at the pediatric emergency department.
Methods: Two parallel groups of patients with fractures or soft-tissue injuries (STIs) were chosen for this prospective observational study. Patients 3 to 18 years of age with a limb or clavicle injury were enrolled. Parents or children were interviewed, pain assessed, and data from the emergency department charts collected.
Results: A total of 310 patients were recruited; their mean age was 10.2 years, and 62% had fractures. The median pain score was 4.0, with no significant difference between fractures and STI. Of the patients, 78% had PA, 73% received first aid (icing, immobilization), and 37% had medication, mostly acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Children with fractures and STI received PA at a similar rate; however, the time to first aid was shorter in those with fractures.
Conclusion: Most patients with moderate or severe pain did not receive prehospital pain medication. Parental education and moderate over-the-counter analgesics are needed for better pain relief.