Closed head injuries in children following the use of a sarong cradle

Singapore Med J. 1997 Dec;38(12):517-9.


Introduction: Sarong cradles are unique to South-East Asian culture. Their use can lead to injuries from falls, over-enthusiastic rocking and defective equipment. We present 19 children who attended the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of a general hospital and who sustained injuries while in a sarong cradle. All had closed head injuries.

Methods and materials: The data was collected over a 9-month period from September 1992 to May 1993. All patients with a documented history of fall following the use of a sarong cradle, were recruited into the study. The adults accompanying the patients were interviewed with a structured questionnaire. The information was recorded by the doctor in attendance.

Results: The ages of the 19 patients ranged from 13 days to 29 months. There were 17 Chinese, 1 Malay and 1 Indian. The types of closed head injuries included minor head injury with no external signs of injury, scalp lacerations, scalp haematomas and severe head injury with an extradural haematoma. The majority (14) were discharged from the A&E Department with head injury advice, 4 were admitted to the General Neurosurgical ward and one, to the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit. There were no fatalities in this group. The accidents happened while the children were either sleeping (14), playing (4) or feeding (1).

Conclusions: While most head injuries sustained in this manner are usually mild, there is a potential that such injuries may lead to more serious injuries. Care givers who use the sarong cradle should be aware of the dangers and exercise due care during use.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Equipment / adverse effects
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Singapore
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology*