The epidemiology of inpatient pediatric trauma in United States hospitals 2000 to 2011

J Pediatr Surg. 2018 Apr;53(4):758-764. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2017.04.014. Epub 2017 Apr 30.


Background: This study provides important updates to the epidemiology of pediatric trauma in the United States.

Methods: Age-specific epidemiologic analysis of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, representing 2.4 million pediatric traumatic injury discharges in the US from 2000 to 2011. We present yearly data with overlying loess smoothing lines, proportions of common injuries and surgical procedures, and survey-adjusted logistic regression analysis.

Results: From 2000 to 2011 there was a 21.7% decline in US pediatric trauma injury inpatient discharges from 273.2 to 213.7 admissions per 100,000. Inpatient case-fatality decreased 5.5% from 1.26% (95% CI 1.05-1.47) to 1.19% (95% CI 1.01-1.38). Severe injuries accounted for 26.5% (se=0.11) of all discharges in 2000 increasing to 31.3% (se=0.13) in 2011. The most common injury mechanism across all age groups was motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), followed by assaults (15-19years), sports (10-14), falls (5-9) and burns (<5). The total injury-related, inflation-adjusted cost was $21.7 billion, increasing 56% during the study period.

Conclusions: The overall rate of inpatient pediatric injury discharges across the United States has been declining. While injury severity is increasing in hospitalized patients, case-fatality rates are decreasing. MVCs remain a common source of all pediatric trauma.

Levels of evidence: Level III.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Injury; Pediatric; Public health; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / economics
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery