Evaluating the Regional Differences in Pediatric Injury Patterns During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2023.03.003; PMCID: PMC10033255


INTRODUCTION: Reports of pediatric injury patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic are conflicting and lack the granularity to explore differences across regions. We hypothesized there would be considerable variation in injury patterns across pediatric trauma centers in the United States.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A multicenter, retrospective study evaluating patients("COVID" cohort) were compared to "Historical" controls from an averaged period of equivalent dates in 2016-2019. Differences in injury type, intent, and mechanism were explored at the site level.

RESULTS: 47,385 pediatric trauma patients were included. Overall trauma volume increased during the COVID cohort compared to the Historical (COVID 7068 patients versus Historical 5891 patients); however, some sites demonstrated a decrease in overall trauma of 25% while others had an increase of over 33%. Bicycle injuries increased at every site, with a range in percent change from 24% to 135% increase. Although the greatest net increase was due to blunt injuries, there was a greater relative increase in penetrating injuries at 7/9 sites, with a range in percent change from a 110% increase to a 69% decrease.

CONCLUSIONS: There was considerable discrepancy in pediatric injury patterns at the individual site level, perhaps suggesting a variable impact of the specific sociopolitical climate and pandemic policies of each catchment area. Investigation of the unique response of the community during times of stress at pediatric trauma centers is warranted to be better prepared for future environmental stressors.

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The Journal of surgical research



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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Child; United States; Pandemics; Retrospective Studies; COVID-19; Wounds, Penetrating; Wounds, Nonpenetrating


Blunt trauma; COVID-19; Injury prevention; Pediatric trauma; Penetrating injury

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