Pediatric Injury


Pediatric injury is the major public health problem and they are reported to be the main cause of death in children of ages 1 to 18. We are discussing here the main causes of pediatric injury and how to avoid them.

Last Updated: 23 October 2020

Pediatric Injury
Pediatric Injury
Pediatric injury

The reports from World Health Organization (WHO) states that approximately 630 000 children under the age of 15 were killed by an injury. A larger proportion of injury is reported to happen in and around the home. It is estimated that 9 million children visit the emergency room due to an injury and the annual cost of pediatric injury is 11.5 billion in the United States.

Causes of pediatric injury

The main causes of pediatric injury are:

1. Motor vehicle accidents:

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in children in age group of 5 to 19.  Approximately 150 children (every hour) receive emergency critical care treatment which is a result of serious motor vehicle accidents. Children in age group of 5 to 19 die from crash related injury.

2. Suffocation:

Suffocation in children is most likely to happen during sleep. Toddlers face suffocation by choking on food and other small objects.

3. Drowning:

In children between the age groups of 1 and 4, drowning is the main cause of death. Everyday three children die from drowning.

4. Poisoning:

Every day more than 300 children under the age of 19 receive emergency treatment due to poisoning. Also every day two children die from poisoning. Household chemicals, cleaners, medicines and unsupervised ingestions are reported to be the main sources of poisoning.

5. Burns:

Burn related injury happen in around 300 children every day and two children die out of it. In younger children, hot liquids and steam are the cause of burns where as in the elder children direct contact with fire is the main cause of burns. 

6. Falls:

Falls are the main cause of non-fatal injury in children under the age of 19. Each day 8000 children receive treatment as a result of injuries from falls. 

Management of pediatric injury

Children who face injury have a lot of disabilities and their families undergo a lot of emotional and financial hardships. Children should have access to trauma center within the reach of one hour. 

The management of pediatric injury is complex and requires meticulous efforts from diverse group of doctors like pediatric critical care physicians, surgeons, and anesthesiologists. Pediatric intensive care units (PICU) in the hospitals need to be well equipped with medications, monitoring devices, trauma services and proper training of the medical and para medical staff members also becomes important.

Prevention of Pediatric injury

Children require utmost prevention, safety and security.

 1. Motor vehicle accidents: It is important to use age appropriate seat belts when you travel with children. However short the trip maybe, it is important to use seat belts. It is important not to seat children in front of an airbag and it is always advisable to seat children in the back seat.

2. Suffocation: Make sure that the sleeping environment of children is safe. Allow the child to sleep in a crib or bassinet, free from stuffed toys and mobiles. Follow proper eating habits like giving them small pieces of food and supervise them whether they chew thoroughly and swallow properly. It is important to check toy package’s choking hazard label before buying a toy.

3. Drowning: Before allowing your child in a pool or a beach, let them learn the basics of swimming. Encourage them to wear life jackets. When kids are in or near water, watch them carefully and let them not get distracted in other ways.  Pools at home may be installed with a four-side fence with self-closing and self-latching gates. This helps children from accidental wandering.

4. Poisoning: Medicines, toxic chemicals, cleaning detergents and household chemicals must be kept out of reach of children. Throw away expired medicines and chemicals by following proper disposal methods. In case of any emergencies call the poison control center.

5. Burns: Install and maintain smoke alarms and be sure to check its working condition every month. Teach your kids, at least two ways of escaping if there is a fire. Never allow children near stoves and microwave ovens. Always check water heater temperature before allowing the child inside the room.

6. Falls: Before allowing your child to play in the playground, be sure that the playground equipment is safe, sturdy and shock-absorbent. It is good to use home safety devices like guards on windows, stair gates and guard rails. Your child should wear the right safety gear like helmet and padding, when involved in sports or during recreation. 

Pediatric injury can be prevented and if there are emergencies, contact the pediatric trauma centers immediately.













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