Lumbar compression fractures secondary to lap-belt use in children

J Pediatr Orthop. Jul-Aug 1995;15(4):521-3. doi: 10.1097/01241398-199507000-00022.


The correlation between flexion-distraction injuries and lap-belt use has been well documented. Over a 10-year period, we identified seven children admitted to Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, with compression fractures of the lumbar spine secondary to lap-belt use. Four were rear seat passengers, and three were in the front seat. The average age was 7 years. Four of the seven (57%) suffered associated abdominal injuries. One died of an associated head injury. We hypothesize that the mechanism of injury in these cases was similar to that in flexion-distraction injuries. The increased elasticity in the posterior ligamentous complex in children may be responsible for the occurrence of these compression fractures rather than the expected flexion-distraction-type injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Abdominal Injuries / etiology*
  • Abdominal Injuries / pathology
  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seat Belts / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology*
  • Spinal Fractures / mortality
  • Spinal Fractures / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed