Objective To describe the rates of hospitalisation for head and traumatic brain injury among Australian children aged 0–14 years.
Design Descriptive analysis of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Hospital Morbidity Database, using data for the period 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2006.
Results The rate of hospitalisation for head injury was 395.9 per 100 000 (95% CI 393.4 to 398.4), with 47.6 per 100 000 (95% CI 46.7 to 48.5) being high-threat-to-life injuries. In multivariate analysis, those aged 0–4 years had 1.8 times the rate of head injury of 10–14-year-olds, while boys had 1.7 times the rate of girls. Children living in very remote and remote areas had a 1.3–1.5-fold greater rate of head injury, and a 1.6–1.8-fold greater rate of injuries that were high threat to life, than city-dwelling children. The rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI) was 91.1 per 100 000 (95% CI 89.9 to 92.3), with 34.7 per 100 000 (95% CI 33.9 to 35.4) being high-threat-to-life injuries. In multivariate analysis, children aged 0–4 years had 0.8 times the rate of 10–14-year-olds, and boys had 1.9 times the rate of girls. Children living in the very remote and remote areas had a 1.9–2.8-fold greater rate of TBI, and a 1.5–1.7-fold greater rate of injuries that were high threat to life, than city-dwelling children.
Conclusions Children living remotely were disproportionately represented among those sustaining head injuries. Almost a quarter of head injuries were TBI.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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