Deaths from Falls in Children: How Far is Fatal?

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Abstract

The outcome of injury was determined in 317 children who were brought to a children's trauma center with a history from the caretaker that the child had fallen. Cases in which the clinicians' judgment was that an incorrect history had been given were included along with cases in which the history was not questioned. Seven deaths occurred in 100 children who fell 4 feet or less. One death occurred in 117 children who fell 10 feet to 45 feet. The 7 children who died in short falls all had other factors in their cases which suggested false histories. When children incur fatal injuries in falls of less than 4 feet, the history is incorrect. Long falls with an outdoor component are likely to be reliable data points for studies of children's injuribility.

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