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South African Journal of Child Health

On-line version ISSN 1999-7671
Print version ISSN 1994-3032


CARREIRA, J-A; KRUGER, D  and  LOVELAND, J. Clinical evaluation and outcomes in children < 10 years old involved in road traffic accidents, presenting to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa. S. Afr. j. child health [online]. 2022, vol.16, n.3, pp.146-151. ISSN 1999-7671.

BACKGROUND. Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are a leading cause of injury and death globally, particularly among children. Pedestrians are most often injured, especially in middle- and low-income countries. The epidemiology, patterns and severity of injuries in children involved in RTAs in our community are hard to obtain. OBJECTIVES. To evaluate the aetiological spectrum, injury characteristics and treatment outcomes of paediatric patients involved in RTAs, who presented to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), a tertiary hospital in Soweto, South Africa. METHODS. Patients <10 years old, who were involved in RTAs and seen at CHBAH, were included in the study. RESULTS. The study was conducted from 20 August 2017 to 31 March 2018, and included the data of 156 patients. Their ages ranged from 13 days to 10 years (65% were boys). Pedestrian vehicle accidents accounted for 78.8% of the injuries, with 60.8% of the children being unaccompanied by an adult. Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 19.2% of the injuries, with 92% of the children being unrestrained in the vehicle. Of the patients, 73.2% (n=112/153) underwent radiography and 44.4% required computed tomography (CT) scans, the majority being CT scans of the brain for suspected head injuries. Soft-tissue injuries accounted for 78.9% of cases, followed mainly by head (39.7%) and limb (16%) injuries. Only 12% of patients required surgical intervention, with 42% of the operations being for orthopaedic injuries. CONCLUSION. The abovementioned data demonstrate that there is a lack of use of child restraints for children travelling as passengers in vehicles, and inadequate supervision of children on and around roads. This study supports other evidence, as it suggests that the paediatric population involved in RTAs is largely injured as pedestrians, and that males tend to be involved in more RTAs than females. The majority of injuries sustained involved the soft tissues, followed by head injuries.

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