Three out of four serious injuries to children are avoidable – report

Boys account for more injuries, with most occurring in the afternoon in summer

The report found the majority of injuries happened in the home. Photograph: iStock

The report found the majority of injuries happened in the home. Photograph: iStock

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Three out of every four major serious injuries to children are avoidable, according to a new report.

Low falls, road traffic collisions and burns account for 71 per cent of all paediatric major trauma patients, an audit of cases over six years finds.

The report, to be published by the National Office for Clinical Audit on Tuesday, looked at data from 1,382 cases of paediatric major trauma between 2014 and 2019, from 26 hospitals.

“While Ireland has had commendable success in reducing child deaths due to road trauma, more needs to be done to make our roads safer, while protecting children’s rights to play, walk and cycle in their communities,” said Dr Ellen Crushell, clinical lead, national clinical programme for paediatrics and neonatology.

Non-accidental injury

An average of more than 10 children a year suffered non-accidental injury over the period. Non-accidental injury accounted for 34 per cent (47 incidents) of major trauma in children aged under one year.

More than one-quarter of all serious injuries in children occurred in the first two years of life, the audit shows.

Almost two-thirds of major trauma happened to boys, and the home was the most common place of serious injury, at 45 per cent of all incidents.

The limbs and the head were the parts of the body mostly likely to be injured, and presentations were more common in the afternoon in the summer.

The audit says that while 55 per cent of paediatric trauma patients were brought to hospital by ambulance, 41 per cent arrived by car, which has implications for emergency team preparedness.

A total of 57 children died during hospital admission due to major trauma over the period. Road injuries accounted for one-third of these deaths.

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