Trauma and Burns

  • Mary HegartyEmail author


Trauma is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children aged over 1 year. Whilst the management of children after trauma follows the same principles as adults, there are unique features of pediatric trauma. The patterns of injuries are different in children of different ages. Children have a large head, making them prone to head injury, but also prone to upper cervical spine injuries rather than the lower cervical spine affected in adults. Head trauma tends to cause diffuse, axonal injury and cerebral edema rather than focal collections. The relatively flexible tissues of children allow great force to be transmitted internally, and there can be significant injury in the chest or abdomen with few external signs. Once injured, a child can compensate for significant blood loss and maintain a relatively normal blood pressure, before sudden decompensation and cardiovascular collapse. Children are also prone to burns—scalds in young child, flame burns in older children. Children with large burns are prone to hypothermia and hyponatremia during fluid resuscitation, and quickly become catabolic after their burn.


Pediatric trauma Pediatric cervical spine injury Spinal cord injury without radiological abnormality Pediatric burn management Non-accidental injury Pediatric burns resuscitation; Critical bleeding Children 

Further Reading

  1. Cullen PM. Pediatric trauma. Cont Educ Anesth Crit Care Pain. 2012;12:157–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Goergen S et al. Pediatric cervical spine trauma. In: Education modules for appropriate imaging referrals: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists. 2015. Accessed July 2019.
  3. Gopinathan NR, Viswanathan VK, Crawford AH. Cervical spine evaluation in pediatric trauma: a review and an update of current concepts. Indian J Orthop. 2018;52:489–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jamshedi R, Sato TT. Initial assessment and management of thermal burn injuries in children. Pediatr Rev. 2013;34:395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kanani AN, Hartshorn S. NICE clinical guideline NG39: major trauma: assessment and initial management. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2017;102(1):20–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. McDougall RJ. Paediatric emergencies. Anaesthesia. 2013;68(Suppl.1):61–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mitchell RJ, Curtis K, Foster K. A 10-year review of child injury hospitalisations, health outcomes and treatment costs in Australia. Inj Prev. 2018;24:344–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Sheridan RL. Burn care for children. Pediatr Rev. 2018;39:273–83. A very good, contemporary overview.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia and Pain ManagementPerth Children’s HospitalNedlandsAustralia

Personalised recommendations