Pediatric Window-Fall-Related Head Injuries Analyzed

Children below 4 years, those landing on hard surfaces sustain more fall-related head injuries

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Children younger than 4 years of age or those landing on hard surfaces are more likely to sustain head injuries, be hospitalized, or die in window-related falls than older children or those who fall on cushioning surfaces, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in Pediatrics.

Vaughn A. Harris, from the the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues examined the epidemiological features of pediatric injuries related to falls from windows. Data from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System on emergency department (ED) cases were used to assess pediatric injury associated with window falls from 1990 to 2008.

The investigators estimated that 98,415 children (mean age 5.1 years) were treated for window-fall-related injuries in U.S. hospital EDs during the study period, of which 58.1 percent were boys and 25.4 percent required hospital admission. A significant decrease in the annual injury rate was observed during the study period due to decrease in annual injury rate among 0 to 4 year olds. Compared to children in the age group 5 to 17 years, those in the age group 0 to 4 years were more likely to sustain head injury, and be hospitalized or die. Compared to children who landed on cushioning surfaces, those who landed on hard surfaces were more likely to sustain head injury, and be hospitalized or die.

"Risk factors for serious injuries among children, as indicated by hospitalization or death, include young age, a fall height of ≥3 stories, and hard landing surfaces," the authors write.

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