Five years' experience of injured children
This study was undertaken to analyse admission data on all patients seen in the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Trauma Unit during the period 24 April 1984 - 31 March 1989. Data were retrieved from computerised records completed on admission and were reviewed descriptively. Variations in age, sex and population group paUem for different causes of injury were evaluated together with data on the nature and place of injury and time seen. Data for analysis of nature of injury by cause were also retrieved, but over a 2-year period only (1986-1987). Accuracy of recorded data was assessed from a random sample of hospital records. During the 5-year period 57468 patients were seen in the Trauma Unit, of whom 17,1% were admitted. In addition 6377 cases of poisoning and 119 of near-drowning were seen by the medical departments. Forty-three per cent of injuries were due to falls, which were the most important cause of injury in both admitted and non-admitted patients of all age, sex and population groups. Other main cause groups were bumps and blows (15%), transport (11%) and burns (11%). Transport and burn injuries had the highest admission rates. This is the first study of children's injuries in southern Africa and provides information essential to future design of paediatric trauma care systems and accident prevention programmes.
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