An analysis of pediatric trauma deaths in Indiana

Dennis Vane, Frederick G. Shedd, Jay L. Grosfeld, Randall J. Franiak, Jeffery C. Ulrich, Karen W. West, Frederick J. Rescorla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


From June 1986 to May 1988, there were 1,931 childhood deaths recorded in Indiana. Eight hundred six children (0 to 18 years old) died as a result of trauma (41.4% of all deaths). Seventy percent of all traumatic deaths occurred in boys. Blunt trauma accounted for 54% of deaths, asphyxia or drowning 26%, penetrating trauma 15%, electrocution 3%, and burns 1%. Sixty percent of deaths occurred in rural areas and 40% occurred in urban centers; however, state-wide demographics define the population as 70% urban. The percentage of deaths due to trauma within a given race was: hispanic 71%, caucasian 42%, black 35%, and others 50%. However, when deaths occurring in infants less than 30 days of age were eliminated, the percentages changed: hispanics 70%, caucasian 45%, black 45%, and others 50%. Traumatic deaths were 1.6 times as likely to occur during the months of June through October (n = 85 deaths/mo) as opposed to November through May (n = 53 deaths/mo) (P < .05). Mortality from burns was limited to children less than 5 years of age and penetrating trauma mortality was twice as likely to occur in children over 15 years (10% v 20%). Fifty-two percent of all traumatic deaths in children occurred between 15 and 18 years of age. major burns account for only 1% of traumatic deaths in this state. Asphyxia and drowning were more common in young children, and blunt traumatic deaths more common in older children. In 1988, the first state-wide accident awareness program was instituted. This, coupled with a number of safety programs initiated from the private and public sector, may in part be responsible for the fact that trauma is no longer responsible for majority of childhood mortalities in this state. Demographics indicate that deaths from trauma are more likely to occur in a rural community rather than in urban areas. In addition, the cause of traumatic death appears to be age-related. These data indicate that age-related and demographic-targeted trauma education programs may be of benefit in further reducing mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-960
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1990


  • Childhood trauma
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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    Vane, D., Shedd, F. G., Grosfeld, J. L., Franiak, R. J., Ulrich, J. C., West, K. W., & Rescorla, F. J. (1990). An analysis of pediatric trauma deaths in Indiana. Journal of pediatric surgery, 25(9), 955-960.