When we think about trauma and prevention we often focus on death as the outcome. However, functional disability from trauma is far more common than death and can cause long-term physical and cognitive impairment despite inpatient rehabilitation. In fact, 95 percent of children and young adults survive moderate to severe trauma. How can we best measure these impairments in a standardized manner? What happens to these patients when they leave the hospital and inpatient rehabilitation? Are we doing all we can to ensure these children recover to reach their fullest potential?
While injury is still the leading cause of death for children older than 1 year of age, we have made great strides in reducing the number of children killed from trauma, particularly in motor vehicle crashes. This is something the injury prevention community should be proud of and continue to work toward. However, given that the overall survival rate for children with moderate to severe trauma is greater than 95 percent, it is equally as important to understand the burden of disabling injuries in children.