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Car Crashes and Violence Top Causes of Facial Fractures in Children | DeLand Child Injury Attorney

Car Crashes and Violence Top Causes of Facial Fractures in Children

A new study shows motor vehicle crashes and violence are the leading causes of facial fractures in children and teens.

The study, led by Dr. Joseph E. Losee of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, offers new insights into trends in the diagnosis, treatment and demographics of pediatric facial fractures, including an increase in fractures caused by violence among adolescents, low-income and minority youth.

Losee and colleagues analyzed 722 facial fractures in infants, children and adolescents from a five-year period. Researchers focused on differences in patient characteristics, treatment and fracture patterns among three grousp of youth: those aged 5 and under, 6 to 11 years, and 12 to 18 years. The analysis excluded those children who had skull fracture only, without fracture of the facial bones.

Approximately 69 percent of the patients were boys and the average age was 10.7 years. Orbital fractures, those in and around the eye socket were the most common type in all age groups. The rates for nasal, jaw and other types of fractures increased with age. Young children and infants were more likely to need treatment in the intensive care unit. Older children were more likely to need surgery.

While motor vehicle crashes were the most common cause of facial fractures at 21 percent, the causes varied by age group:

  • Children 5 and under accounted for 20 percent of facial fractures, with falls being the main contributing factor. None from this age group were injured in violence.
  • Motor vehicle crashes were the most common cause for children ages 6 to 11, who accounted for 33 percent of facial fractures. These were followed by injuries from play and bicycle riding.
  • Adolescents ages 12 to 18 accounted for 47 percent of the facial fractures, the largest group. The most common cause of fractures for this group was violence followed by sports-related injuries.

Across all age groups in this study, 56 percent of youth had other types of traumatic injuries, including a 22 percent rate of concussions. Of children in this study, 63 percent were hospitalized and 1.4 percent died.

Nearly 12 percent of facial fractures were caused by violence. These injuries were more likely for minority children and those children who lived in low-income neighborhoods.

This was one of the first studies to examine the full range of facial fractures in children, from infancy through adolescence. Anatomy helps to explain the higher rate of middle-third facial fractures in older children, researchers say. Due to the large size of the cranial bones in infants and young children, they are more likely to have isolated skull fractures rather than facial fractures.

Facial fractures are less common in children than adults, with less than 15 percent occurring in children.

Because the skull and facial bones of children are so distinct from those of adults, researchers say they are subject to unique injury patterns. This, combined with concern for continued growth means surgeons must look at facial fractures in children as “fundamentally different” from those in adults.

Researchers say the results of this study are significant in revealing the high rate of facial fractures caused by violence in boys, particularly minorities and those who reside in low-income areas.

The study’s authors hope plastic and reconstructive surgeons will develop new and more effective approaches to diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these unique injuries based on these findings.

For more on child safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach child injury attorney.

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