Objective: To describe the rates of hospitalisation for head and traumatic brain injury among Australian children aged 0-14 years.
Design: Descriptive analysis of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Hospital Morbidity Database, using data for the period 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2006.
Results: The rate of hospitalisation for head injury was 395.9 per 100,000 (95% CI 393.4 to 398.4), with 47.6 per 100,000 (95% CI 46.7 to 48.5) being high-threat-to-life injuries. In multivariate analysis, those aged 0-4 years had 1.8 times the rate of head injury of 10-14-year-olds, while boys had 1.7 times the rate of girls. Children living in very remote and remote areas had a 1.3-1.5-fold greater rate of head injury, and a 1.6-1.8-fold greater rate of injuries that were high threat to life, than city-dwelling children. The rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI) was 91.1 per 100,000 (95% CI 89.9 to 92.3), with 34.7 per 100,000 (95% CI 33.9 to 35.4) being high-threat-to-life injuries. In multivariate analysis, children aged 0-4 years had 0.8 times the rate of 10-14-year-olds, and boys had 1.9 times the rate of girls. Children living in the very remote and remote areas had a 1.9-2.8-fold greater rate of TBI, and a 1.5-1.7-fold greater rate of injuries that were high threat to life, than city-dwelling children.
Conclusions: Children living remotely were disproportionately represented among those sustaining head injuries. Almost a quarter of head injuries were TBI.