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MEH Ong, SBS Ooi, PG Manning
Correspondence: Dr Ong Eng Hock Marcus, email@example.com
Background Childhood injuries cause significant mortality and morbidity in Singapore. With injury surveillance, patterns of repeated injury can be identified and injury prevention strategies devised.
Methods We conducted a retrospective study of all children aged 12 and below seen for trauma in an Emergency Department over one year. Data captured in the real-time computer system was studied with regards to patient profile, mechanism of injury and patient disposition. Clinical summaries were extracted with follow-up telephone interviews done.
Results Two thousand five hundred and seventeen children aged 12 and below were seen for accidental trauma in 1999, accounting for 37.1% of the total attendance for that age. Mean age was 7.7 years with males making up 62.7%. Home injuries (56.4%) were the most common, followed by road-related (14.4%), sports (8.2%) and playground injuries (7.4%). 48.5% sustained head and face injuries. Pre-school children (age <5) were more likely to sustain home injuries (p<0.0001), a higher proportion of head injuries (p<0.0001), foreign bodies, burns and poisoning compared to school-going children (age 6-12), who were more likely to sustain injuries in road accidents, sports, at playgrounds or schools, with more limb, trunk and multi-trauma. We highlight drownings, falls from height, rollover falls from beds, slamming door injuries, the low use of child car restraints, bicycle injuries and playground falls as areas of concern.
Conclusion Several injury prevention strategies have been suggested and it is hoped these may contribute to addressing preventable childhood injuries in Singapore. We also advocate the establishment of a national childhood injury surveillance database.
Keywords: Childhood injuries, injury prevention, injury surveillance, accidental trauma
Singapore Med J 2003; 44(1): 12-19