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It's Good to be a Kid! Outcomes following Falls From Heights in Children and Adults
Eric Rosenfeld, MD, Jennifer Carpenter, MD, Bindi Naik-Mathuria, MD. Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: Falls account for the majority of injury admission in children as in adults; however, limited data exists in the pediatric population. The purpose of this study was to assess age-related injury differences and outcomes of falls from heights.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed of patients with a diagnosis of "fall out of building or other structure" (ICD-9 E882) included in the NTDB between 2007-2011. Variables analyzed included patient demographics, injury details, length of hospital and ICU stay, urgent operations, and mortality rate. Chi square tests and ANOVA analyses were performed. Children > age 15 were analyzed as "adults" due to similar body habitus.

Results: Of the 44,416 patients identified, 15% were children <15 years of age. Mean age of children was 4.7 years and adults 36.2 years. Brain and abdominal organ injuries were significantly more common in children (11% vs 9%, p<0.001), while skeletal injuries were more common in adults (55% vs 15%, p<0.001). The youngest children (0-4 years) had the highest incidence of brain injuries. Compared to adults, children were less severely injured and had better outcomes, but had higher ICU admission (table).

Conclusions: Children incur more brain and abdominal injuries and fewer fractures than adults following falls from height, but are less severely injured and have lower mortality. Mechanism of injury alone should not lead to over-triage or ICU admission.

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