Long-term medical consequences for child occupants 0 to 12 years injured in car crashes.

Traffic injury prevention 01/2014; 15(4):370-8. DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2013.826799
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Objective: There is limited knowledge of the long-term medical consequences for children injured in car crashes. Thus, in the event of injury, the aim of the study was to specify patterns and risks of injuries resulting in permanent medical impairment of children (0-12 years) for different body regions and injury severity levels, according to Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). The aim was also to compare the impairment outcome with adults. Methods: Data were obtained from the Folksam insurance company, including reported car crashes from 1998 to 2010 with at least one injured child 0-12 years of age. In all, 2619 injured children with 3704 reported medical diagnoses were identified. All injuries were classified according to the AIS 2005 revision. If the child had not recovered within 1 year postinjury an assessment of permanent medical impairment (PMI) was made by one or several medical specialists. Results: In all, 55 children sustained 59 injuries resulting in PMI of which 75 percent were at AIS 1 or AIS 2. The head and cervical spine were the body regions sustaining the most injuries resulting in PMI. Sixty-eight percent of all injuries resulting in PMI were AIS 1 injuries to the cervical spine, with the majority occurring in frontal or rear impacts. Given an injury to the cervical spine, the risk of injuries resulting in PMI was 3 percent, and older children (≥6 years) had a significantly higher risk (3% versus 1%) than younger children. The head was the second most commonly injured body region with injuries resulting in PMI (12/59), which were predominantly AIS 2+. In addition, mild traumatic brain injuries at AIS 1 were found to lead to PMI. Whereas for children the injuries leading to PMI were primarily limited to the head and cervical spine, adults sustained injuries that led to PMI from a more diverse distribution of body regions. Conclusion: The pattern of injuries resulting in permanent medical impairment is different for children and adults; therefore, safety priorities for children need to be based on child data. The majority of those injuries leading to PMI were at lower AIS levels. Furthermore, AIS 1 cervical spine and AIS 1+ head injuries should be given priority concerning mitigation of long-term consequences for children.

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