Pediatric injuries presenting to an emergency department in a developing country

Thomas D. Kirsch, Ronald W. Beaudreau, Yvette A. Holder, Gordon S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the causes and outcomes of pediatric injuries using the emergency departments (ED) as a surveillance site. Method: Prospective, 14-day surveys of all injuries were conducted in the EDs of the two national trauma referral hospitals of Trinidad and Tobago. Data on patient demographics, type, cause, and outcome of injuries were collected. The χ2 test for significance was used for categorical variables. Results: Pediatric patients (<20 years) accounted for 41.5% (714/1722) of injury visits. Of these, 62.6% were male and 17.4% were <four years old, 26.2% four to nine years, 31.1% 10 to 14 years, and 25.4% were 15 to 19 years old. Three patients (0.4%) died, 68.6% were discharged, and 31.0% admitted. Intentional injuries accounted for 13.9% of injuries. Of the intentional injuries, the assailant was significantly more likely to be known than not (P < 0.01). The most common causes of all injuries were: falls, 44.4%; blunt objects, 12.3%; sharp objects, 11.8%; motor vehicle (including pedestrians), 7.4%; poison, 3.6%; and burns, 1.7%. Injuries occurring in the home accounted for 46.2%; in school, 25.5%; sports/recreation, 11.1%; and at work, 4.5%. The most common injuries were: lacerations, 30.8%, contusions/abrasions, 26.7%, fractures, 18.8%; and sprains/dislocations, 9.4%. Conclusion: Pediatric injuries are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in this country, accounting for almost one third of injured patients. Because of the low frequency of pediatric injury deaths, ED surveillance may be a more effective means of identifying high risk groups and activities for injuries. Data from EDs may be useful in other developing countries to develop injury prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-415
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Injury
  • injury prevention
  • surveillance site
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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