• Vol. 50 No. 2, 119–125
  • 01 February 2021

Epidemiology and risk stratification of minor head injuries in school-going children



Introduction: Head injuries occur commonly in children and can lead to concussion injuries. We aim to describe the epidemiology of head injuries among school-going children and identify predictors of brain concussions in Singapore. Methods: This is a retrospective study of children 7–16 years old who presented to the Emergency Department (ED) of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore with minor head injury between June 2017 and August 2018. Data including demographics, clinical presentation, ED and hospital management were collected using a standardised electronic template. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify early predictors for brain concussion. Concussion symptoms were defined as persistent symptoms after admission, need for inpatient intervention, or physician concerns necessitating neuroimaging. Results: Among 1,233 children (mean age, 6.6 years; 72.6% boys) analysed, the commonest mechanism was falls (64.6%). Headache and vomiting were the most common presenting symptoms. A total of 395 (32.0%) patients required admission, and 277 (22.5%) had symptoms of concussion. Older age (13–16 years old) (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12–2.08), children involved in road traffic accidents (aOR 2.12, CI 1.17–3.85) and a presenting complaint of headache (aOR 2.64, CI 1.99–3.50) were significantly associated with symptoms of concussion. Conclusion: This study provides a detailed description of the pattern of head injuries among school-going children in Singapore. High risk patients may require closer monitoring to detect post-concussion syndrome early.

Head injuries are common childhood injuries that present to paediatric emergency departments. Falls are the most common cause in young children, while contact sports and road traffic injuries are common causes in school-going children. Majority of paediatric head injury cases are mild traumatic brain injuries, defined as a Glasgow Coma Scale of 14–15, among whom only a minority develop complications or require neurosurgical intervention.

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