Facial injury patterns in a UK paediatric population aged under 13 years

Emerg Med J. 2010 Aug;27(8):603-6. doi: 10.1136/emj.2009.075127. Epub 2010 Apr 8.


Background: The aims of this study were to present the demographics and mechanisms of facial injury in UK children, and to establish the nature and anatomical location of facial injury in this age group.

Methods: Patient data were collected retrospectively over 1 year from a paediatric Emergency Department in South East Scotland. Medical notes were examined for all patients coded on the electronic patient record as having any facial injury.

Results: 593 patients attended with a facial injury. The median age of patients was 4.7 years. (IQR 2.4-7.5 years.), and the male to female ratio of facial injuries was 2:1. Injuries were predominantly from falls. Assault or violence was uncommon. Most common sites of facial injury were the lower third of the face and dento-alveolar injury. Facial fractures were rare and radiographic facial imaging was infrequently performed. Only eight facial fractures were diagnosed. 4.5% of all patients were admitted to hospital; 23% of the children were referred on to other specialities for follow-up, of these over half were to a dentist.

Conclusions: A large number of children presented with facial injuries during the study period. Facial lacerations, oral trauma and dental trauma were the most common injuries. The majority of patients were dealt with without admission or referral to another speciality.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Facial Bones / injuries
  • Facial Injuries / classification
  • Facial Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Facial Injuries / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Maxillary Fractures / diagnosis
  • Maxillary Fractures / epidemiology
  • Patient Admission
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Trauma Severity Indices