Injuries in Pediatric Patients with Seatbelt Contusions

Campbell, D. J.; Sprouse II, L. Richard; Smith, Lisa A.; Kelley, Joseph E.; Carr, Michael G.
December 2003
American Surgeon;Dec2003, Vol. 69 Issue 12, p1095
Academic Journal
Children restrained with lap belts may sustain severe injuries. We investigated the frequency of each type of injury associated with seatbelt contusions. The medical records of all trauma patients with ICD-9 codes for abdominal wall contusions from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2001, were reviewed. All patients with seatbelt contusions were included in the study. Age, seat position, weight, restraint-type, sex, and mechanism of injury were noted. There were 1447 admissions for trauma over the 3-year period. Forty-six patients (ages 4-13) had a seatbelt contusion. Thirty-three wore lap belts, and 13 wore lap and shoulder harnesses. Twenty-two children required abdominal exploration. Small bowel injuries were the most common intra-abdominal injuries. Facial injuries were the most common associated injuries. Forty-eight per cent of children with seatbelt contusions in our institution required surgery. The smaller patients tend to have higher frequency of abdominal injuries. The presence of seatbelt contusion indicates the possibility of severe internal injuries.


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