Acute healthcare utilization by children after motor vehicle crashes

This study, describing the overall patterns of acute healthcare resource utilization by child crash victims (age 15 years and younger), was conducted between 28 July 1999 and 30 November 2000 as part of an on-going large-scale, child-specific crash surveillance system, Partners for Child Passenger Safety: insurance claims from 15 states and the District of Columbia function as the source of subjects, with telephone survey and on-site crash investigations serving as the primary sources of data. A probability sample of 4862 eligible crashes with 7368 child occupants formed the study sample. Our results suggest that for every 1000 children involved in crashes, 3 are hospitalized; 108 are treated and released from an emergency department (ED); 48 are evaluated in a physician’s office, urgent care center, or other facility; and 841 receive no care at all. Comprehensive surveillance systems for motor vehicle crashes must capture children treated in physicians’ offices, emergency departments, and other healthcare facilities in order to provide accurate estimates of the impact on the health care system related to motor vehicle trauma.