Childhood injuries are a major public health problem in Italy. From a study conducted in 1984, injury rates were found to be higher in Trieste, in the north-east of the country, than in other Italian areas. We conducted a new study to evaluate whether injury rates and patterns have changed in Trieste. There are three emergency rooms (ER) in Trieste. We collected and analyzed information on all injured children 0-16 years of age attending these ER in 2003 (child population 0-16 years of age was 28,000). We calculated the annual injury risk overall and by age. We described characteristics of the children (age, sex) and injuries (place, cause, type, affected body part, severity). 5,928 injured children attended the ER, and the annual injury risk was 21.5%. The home was the most frequent place where injuries occurred, especially among the youngest children. The most commonly injured body parts were the limbs and, among the youngest children, the head and face. Approximately 20% of children had moderate to severe injuries (AIS>1), and less then 3% were admitted to the hospital. In comparison to the previous study, there have been no significant changes in the annual risk of childhood injury and in the injury patterns. On the contrary, we observed a dramatic reduction in the frequency of hospitalization, which is probably attributable to the recent implementation of short observation and to the improvement of diagnostic/therapeutic paths in the ER. In conclusion, childhood injuries are still a relevant public health problem in this Italian area and new efforts are needed to prevent them.
- Annual risk
- Child injury
- Emergency room
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health