Pediatric Concussion Management in the Emergency Department: A National Survey of Parents

J Pediatr. 2017 Feb;181:229-234. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.10.071. Epub 2016 Nov 16.


Objective: To examine parental expectations and beliefs about diagnosis and management of pediatric concussion.

Study design: We conducted a cross-sectional web-based survey of a nationally representative panel of US parents in March 2014. Parents of 10- to 17-year-old children responded to questions about their expectations and beliefs about diagnosis and management of pediatric concussion in the emergency department (ED). Weighted percentages for descriptive statistics were calculated, and χ2 statistics were used for bivariate analysis.

Results: Survey participation was 53%, and of 912 parent respondents with a child 10-17 years of age who were presented with a scenario of their child having mild symptoms of concussion, 42% would seek immediate ED care. Parents who would seek immediate ED care for this scenario were more likely than parents who would consult their child's usual provider or wait at home to "definitely expect" imaging (65% vs 21%), definitive diagnosis of concussion (77% vs 61%), a timeline for return to activity (80% vs 60%), and a signed return to play form (55% vs 41%).

Conclusions: Many parents who bring children to the ED following a possible concussion are likely to expect comprehensive and definitive care, including imaging, a definitive diagnosis, a timeline for return to activity, and a signed return to play form. To manage these expectations, healthcare providers should continue to educate parents about the evaluation and management of concussion.

Keywords: beliefs; management; parental expectations; pediatric concussion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Concussion / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Emergency Treatment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • United States