Rattled: Analysis of Facial Trauma Among Toddlers

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The aim of this study was to determine the national incidence of facial trauma among toddlers and delineate patterns of injury and their causes.


A retrospective review was designed to explore patterns of maxillofacial trauma within toddler-aged children using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The database was searched for emergency department visits involving facial trauma sustained by children 12 months through 3 years of age from 2010 through 2014 and analyzed for patient demographics, primary diagnosis, and associated products/activities. Subset analyses were performed between age groups to determine the relationship between causes of injury and age using extrapolated national incidences.


A sample of 45,249 patients extrapolated to an estimated 1.3 million emergency department visits for facial trauma in toddlers from 2010 to 2014, averaging 260,000 annually. Injuries involving foreign bodies and fractures had a higher incidence in toddlers 2 years or older, and fractures comprised fewer than 1% of facial injuries in any age group. Furniture was the most common source of trauma overall, with a higher frequency among toddlers aged 12 to 17 months. Trauma in the setting of sports was more common in toddlers aged 3 years.


The low incidence of facial fractures further supports recommendations against routine imaging in toddler facial trauma and suggests that more focus should be placed on investigating for concurrent traumas and soft tissue injuries where fractures are involved. Our findings highlight prevention opportunities, particularly in furniture-related injuries for toddlers aged 12 to 17 months and sports-related traumas in toddlers aged 3 years. Our study also suggests restricting certain toys from 3-year-old toddlers to decrease the risk of aspiration.

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