Targeted community prevention strategies needed to improve child road safety
Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are a significant cause of injuries and death in children worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It has been suggested that in adults living in LMICs, weekends are particularly high risk for RTIs, but patterns in children have not been studied. A recent 10-year study confirmed that pediatric RTI patients are more frequently brought to medical attention, sustain more severe injuries and more frequently require hospital admission during weekends compared with weekdays. This study has important implications for resource allocation in LMIC settings. Future research could help lead to the establishment of cost-effective systems for improving road safety for children in LMICs during these high-risk times.
The single-center cohort study used hospital trauma registry data collected by Childsafe South Africa. The data was analyzed in injured children younger than 13 years of age between 2004 and 2013. During the 10-year study period, a total of 71,180 patients presented with traumatic injuries, of which 8,815 (12.4%) resulted from RTIs. The study revealed that although the daily volume of trauma patients was similar by day, RTI patients presented more frequently on weekends than on weekdays. In addition, injury severity was worse for these RTI patients who came in during weekends, and they more frequently required admission to both the trauma ward and to the pediatric intensive care unit.
The authors of the study recommend that the findings should be considered in the context of hospital organization, and should inspire targeted community prevention strategies for improving child road safety.
Source: Burstein B, Fauteux-Lamarre E, As AB. Increased morbidity associated with weekend paediatric road traffic injuries: 10-year analysis of trauma registry data. Injury 2016;47:1236-1241. Epub 2016 Mar 3.