State-level geographic variation in prompt access to care for children after motor vehicle crashes

Document Type



General Surgery


Background: Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are a principal cause of death in children; fatal MVCs and pediatric trauma resources vary by state. We sought to examine state-level variability in and predictors of prompt access to care for children in MVCs.
Materials and methods: Using the 2010-2014 Fatality Analysis Reporting System, we identified passengers aged (crashes on US public roads with ≥1 death, adult or pediatric, within 30 d). We included children requiring transport for medical care from the crash scene with documented time of hospital arrival. Our primary outcome was transport time to first hospital, defined as >1 or ≤1 h. We used multivariable logistic regression to establish state-level variability in the percentage of children with transport time >1 h, adjusting for injury severity (no injury, possible injury, suspected minor injury, suspected severe injury, fatal injury, and unknown severity), mode of transport (emergency medical services [EMS] air, EMS ground, and non-EMS), and rural roads.
Results: We identified 18,116 children involved in fatal MVCs from 2010 to 2014; 10,407 (57%) required transport for medical care. Median transport time was 1 h (interquartile range: [1, 1]; range: [0, 23]). The percent of children with transport time >1 h varied significantly by state, from 0% in several states to 69% in New Mexico. Children with no injuries identified at the scene and crashes on rural roads were more likely to have transport times >1 h.
Conclusions: Transport times for children after fatal MVCs varied substantially across states. These results may inform state-level pediatric trauma response planning.


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journal of surgical research