Unintentional head injury in children less than 3 years of age: An insight into safety practices in a developing country

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Being dependent on caretakers for their safety, children under the age of 3 years are particularly vulnerable to unintentional injury. To identify the circumstances and consequences of head injury in this age group and to assess preventability in a setting of low parental educational levels, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of children less than 3 years of age admitted to hospital with a head injury and in addition categorized the degree of preventability of injury. This study included 109 children, representing a third of head-injured children under the age of 16 years, and 23.4% of these were infants. A significant proportion of head injuries, i.e., 20.18%, were designated "serious" and there was an in-hospital mortality rate of 7.3%. Most of the injuries (80%) occurred in the home and 76% could have been prevented through improved parental supervision and safety measures. We conclude that, in a setting of low maternal education, head injuries in preschoolers largely result from a lack of diligence of the caretakers, presenting opportunities for prevention strategies via a multidimensional approach that integrates safety information into the preexisting national health programs.


Pediatric Neurosurgery