Accidental traumatic head injury in infants and young children

Brain Pathol. 2008 Oct;18(4):583-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2008.00203.x.


This article will discuss accidental head injuries in infants and young children. The first category of injury is the crushing head injury. Static forces applied slowly to the head result in multiple fractures of the skull and contusions and lacerations of the brain resulting from the bone fragments striking the brain. This article will discuss the subject of short falls in young children and the resulting head injuries. Because falls are frequent events in early life, many cases have been collected and many papers written on the subject. Study of these cases is informative about the injuries likely to occur in these falls. Most often, only a minor contact injury such as scalp bruise or laceration results. In a 2 to 3% of falls, a simple linear skull fracture occurs and the majority of these are uneventful in terms of neurological deficit or intracranial bleeding. In about 1% of the fractures, an epidural or subdural hemorrhage occurs. Each of these forms of contact hemorrhages will be discussed and illustrated. While these are relatively rare injuries, it is essential that they can be identified as consistent with an accidental mechanism so that an erroneous diagnosis of inflicted injury is not made.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls
  • Accidents*
  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / etiology
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / pathology
  • Hematoma, Epidural, Cranial / physiopathology
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Intracranial / etiology
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Intracranial / pathology
  • Hematoma, Subdural, Intracranial / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Skull / injuries
  • Skull / pathology
  • Skull Fractures / complications
  • Skull Fractures / etiology
  • Skull Fractures / pathology*