Paediatric trauma centres seek to optimise the care of injured children. Trends in state-wide paediatric care and outcomes have not been examined in detail in Australia. This study examines temporal trends in paediatric trauma outcomes and factors influencing survival and length of stay. A retrospective review was conducted using data from the NSW Trauma Registry during 2003-2008 for children aged 15 years and younger who were severely injured (injury severity score > 15). To examine trauma outcomes descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic and linear regression were conducted. There were 1138 children severely injured. Two-thirds were male. Road trauma and falls were the most common injury mechanisms and over one-third of incidents occurred in the home. Forty-eight percent of violence-related injuries were experienced by infants aged less than 1 year. For the majority of children definitive care was provided at a paediatric trauma centre, but less than one-third of children were taken directly to a paediatric trauma centre post-injury. Children who received definitive treatment at a paediatric trauma centre had between 3 and 6 times higher odds of having a survival advantage than if treated at an adult trauma centre. The number of severe injury presentations to the 14 major trauma centres in NSW remains constant. It is possible that injury prevention measures are having a limited effect on severe injury in NSW. This research provides stimulus for change in the provision and co-ordination in the delivery of trauma care for injured children.
Bibliographical noteErratum can be found in Injury, 44(10), p. 1375, 2013.