Bandaids are not the fix: Examining the patterns of injury-related emergency department presentations in Australian children

Holger Möller, Catherine Niven, Jesani Catchpoole, Rebecca Ivers, James Harrison, Kirsten Vallmuur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objective: To provide an epidemiological understanding of the types of injuries treated in ED in Australian children, describe the impact of these injuries in volume and severity, and assess the patterns by demographic and temporal factors.

Methods: ED data from six major paediatric hospitals in four Australian states over the period 2011–2017 were analysed to identify childhood injury patterns by nature of injury and body region, as well as sex, age group and temporal factors.

Results: A total of 486 762 ED presentations for injury in children aged 0–14 years were analysed. The most common injuries for all age groups were fractures of the upper extremities. Leading injury diagnosis groups varied by age groups and sex. Overall, children aged 1–2 years had the highest number of ED presentations for injury, and from birth more males than females presented to ED with injuries with the highest absolute sex difference observed for 10- to 14-year-olds. Seventeen percent of children who presented to ED were admitted to hospital with the leading type of hospitalised injury being fractures. Little monthly variation in ED presentations was observed, except for higher presentations for drowning in summer months, and for most injury types, ED presentations were higher during weekends and daytime.

Conclusions: This is the first large-scale quantification of paediatric injury-related ED presentation patterns in Australia since the conclusion of the National Injury Surveillance and Prevention Program about 30 years ago. It provides valuable information to inform paediatric ED resourcing decisions as well as important evidence for injury prevention practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • emergency
  • epidemiology
  • injuries
  • injury surveillance
  • paediatric


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