oa South African Family Practice - Injuries in children and adolescents seen during 2006 at the emergency department of the National District Hospital, Bloemfontein : original research
Background: Most children and adolescents recover fully from injuries. However, permanent disabilities may occur. The objective of the study was to investigate the prevalence and profile of injuries in children and adolescents five to 19 years of age seen at the emergency department of the National District Hospital in Bloemfontein.
Methods: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted. Demographic and injury-specific information obtained from hospital records of 2006 was entered into a data-capturing form. Data were analysed by using descriptive statistics.
Results: The prevalence of injuries in this age group was 20.3%. Two hundred and nine records were investigated. The majority of cases were male (68.3%). The median age was 15 years, and 43.5% of injuries occurred in the age group 15 to 19 years. Approximately half (51.7%) were Afrikaans-speaking and resided in suburban areas (50%). Most injuries occurred at home (40.2%) between 12h00 and 17h00 (38.7%). Falls (33.7%) were the most common cause of injury. Soft tissue injuries (35.9%) occurred most commonly, followed by lacerations (33.0%) and fractures (16.7%). Upper limb injuries (42.1%) were seen more than lower limb injuries (27.8%). Facial injuries occurred in 12% of cases. X-rays were performed in 57.9% of cases. Most patients (93.3%) received medication, while 22% were referred for specialist treatment. All cases except one were discharged from the emergency department. Parents accompanied patients in 65.6% of cases.
Conclusions: Optimal treatment should be given to the injured child or adolescent to avoid possible long-term injury-related sequelae. Preventive strategies should be formulated, enforced and evaluated.
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