Purpose According to the CDC, in 2014, paediatric unintentional falls were the leading cause of paediatric nonfatal injury in ages 0–4 nationwide. Likewise, in Georgia, the highest burden of admission and ER visits for paediatric falls exists in the 0–4 age group. The purpose of this study was to identify population characteristics, mechanisms of injury, and injuries sustained from falls among those ages 0–4 in Georgia.
Methods Data from Georgia Central Trauma Registry (GCTR) was examined for all patients ages 0–4 from Level 1 and Level 2 Trauma Centres with an ICD-9/ICD-10 E-code diagnosis for unintentional falls from January 1, 2014-December 31, 2015 (n=1,058). Additionally, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) Trauma Registry data, a subset of the GCTR data, was reviewed from CHOA inpatient records.
Results The majority of falls were males (56.9%: 602/1,058), from a height of <3.3 feet (54.3%: 574/1,058), blunt (99.9%: 1057/1058), occurred at home (75.3%: 797/1058), and Medicaid patients (60.8%: 643/1058). The highest percentage were ages<1 year (32.0%; 338/1058). Approximately 70% (733/1,058) were CHOA patients where closed skull fracture (n=240) and intracranial haemorrhage (n=127) were predominant in ages<1 (n=121 and n=85 respectively). While femur fracture (n=156) was predominant in ages 1–2 (n=84) and humerus fracture (n=205) in ages 3–4 (n=122).
Conclusions Unintentional falls remain a significant burden of injury in the youngest population. To further reduce risk, falls prevention education should be offered to families in settings outside the paediatric clinic including emergency departments, community centres, and daycare facilities.
Significance The results of this study provide new information regarding the mechanism of falls injury for the 0–4 population in Georgia. Current paediatric guidelines for falls prevention parent education only include ages 0–18 months. The research results support expanding falls prevention education for parents with children through age 4.