Paediatric trauma

Paediatric trauma is trauma in children contrasts with anatomical, physiological and mechanism of injury differences compared to adults.

Injury mechanism changes depending on the age of the child, with infants at risk of rolling from change tables, pre-schoolers more likely to sustain falls and burns, school age children are at risk from sporting activities and playground equipment, and older children engaging in risk taking behaviours including self-harm and as a result of intoxication. All children are at risk from vehicular injury if incorrectly restrained, with land transport accidents comprising most deaths under 24 years of age (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021).

Anatomical differences are most pronounced in smaller children, for example they may sustain a significant pulmonary injury without external evidence of trauma given the thoracic bones compliance (Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2021). This is also important in how they respond physically to traumatic injuries, with a higher reliance on diaphragm movement for respiratory function in infants and the limited ability to increase tidal volumes to counteract pulmonary injury (Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2021).

Environments caring for paediatric patients should have readily accessible charts with age based vital signs and weight-based calculations of important medications to reduce potential errors and allow recognition of abnormalities.

Queensland Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated major trauma centre for children in Queensland. The QCH trauma service provides a consultatory service for approximately 900 trauma patients and their families every year from across Queensland and northern New South Wales (Children’s Health Queensland, 2021).

Training resource kits

Each kit is a collection of tools and resources to guide the effective delivery of a trauma education event. The kits are designed for use in any Queensland Health facility and can be modified by the facilitator to the needs of the learner, as well as the environment in which the education is being delivered.

Help us make these training resource kits better - complete our short survey or contact us with any feedback.

Other resources

Other resources and tools on the topic of paediatric trauma.