To identify special characteristics of the pediatric spinal cord-injured (SCI) population, we analyzed a database of 1,770 traumatic SCI patients; 88 (5%) fell into the two pediatric subgroups: 0-12 years (n = 26) and 13-15 years (n = 62) at time of injury. Differences between age groups were identified with regard to demographics, neurologic characteristics, associated injuries and complications, and management. Mode level of bony injury was C2 in preteens, C4 in teens, and C4-C5 in adults. Scoliosis developed far more frequently in children, particularly preteens (23%), than in adults (5%). Violent etiologies, predominantly gunshots, accounted for a disproportionate share of injuries to preteens (19%) and African-Americans (28%), as compared with adults (12%) and Caucasians (7%). This last finding underscores the urgent need to mount a response to the nationwide proliferation of gunshot-related SCI in children and minorities.