The Epidemiology of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children and Youths: A Review of Research Since 1990

J Child Neurol. 2016 Jan;31(1):20-7. doi: 10.1177/0883073814544363. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


This report reviews recent research on the epidemiology of traumatic brain injuries among children and youth aged 0 to 20 years. Studies representing populations in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand yield these median estimates of the annual incidence of childhood brain injuries: 691 per 100 000 population treated in emergency departments, 74 per 100 000 treated in hospital, and 9 per 100 000 resulting in death. Males have a higher risk of injury than females: 1.4 times higher among those aged less than 10 years and 2.2 times among those older than 10 years. The leading cause of injury among children aged less than 5 years is falls, whereas the leading cause of injury among youths aged 15 years and older is motor vehicle crashes. The prevalence of disability among all persons who have sustained traumatic brain injury in childhood is unknown, but among those who were hospitalized could approximate 20%.

Keywords: epidemiology; incidence; risk factors; systematic review; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult