While road traffic crashes are known to have a significant impact in terms of deaths and hospitalisations, quantifying the burden of psychological sequelae is more challenging. This systematic review critically evaluates published studies designed to estimate the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among children and adolescents who have survived a road crash. Most studies have focused on injured school-aged children and adolescents, and estimate the occurrence of this condition to be between 12% and 46% in the first 4 months following crash involvement and between 13% and 25% 4-12 months following the crash. The relatively high prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder following one of the commonest causes of injury underscores the need for greater vigilance and active management to mitigate the adverse consequences on the health and development of young crash survivors. The findings also emphasise the important role that child health professionals must play in promoting strategies that prevent road traffic crashes.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2011 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).