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Pediatric Injury: Condition Information

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What is pediatric injury?

Pediatric injuries (or traumas) are quite diverse in their origins, severity, and effects on children. One way to understand injuries is by their most common causes, which are1,2,3:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Suffocation (being unable to breathe)
  • Drowning
  • Poisoning
  • Burns
  • Falls

For more information on the causes of injuries in children, see the section What causes pediatric injury? or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Safe Child website.

What is pediatric critical care?

Children who have severe or life-threatening injuries need critical care. These children may be admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in hospitals, where they receive critical care. These units are staffed by physicians with specialized training in pediatric critical care medicine ("pediatric intensivists"). Because children can experience a broad range of injury type, severity, and complexity, and because injuries can affect multiple organ systems, PICUs are staffed by and consult with many types of specialized health care providers. These include physicians, including those trained in pediatric emergency care, pediatric trauma surgeons, pediatric anesthesiologists, cardiologists, neurologists, and others. PICUs are also staffed by pediatric nurses, social workers, psychologists, and others who help guide recovery efforts for injured children and their families.4


  1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Child injury. Retrieved August 22, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/ChildInjury/index.html [top]
  2. Borse, N. N., Gilchrist, J., Dellinger, A. M., Rudd, R. A., Ballesteros, M. F., Sleet, D. A. (2008). CDC childhood injury report: patterns of unintentional injuries among 0-19 year olds in the United States, 2000-2006. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. [top]
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. (2012). Protect the ones you love: child injuries are preventable. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/safechild [top]
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2008). Management of pediatric trauma. Pediatrics, 121, 849–854. [top]

Last Updated Date: 12/09/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 10/23/2013
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