Nearly every third child in Sweden who is injured in traffic is subsequently affected by posttraumatic stress disorder. Every fifth child is still suffering from mental and psychosocial problems one year after the accident. These are the conclusions of a thesis submitted at the Sahlgrenska Academy, which shows also that only 6 out of 10 Swedish children and adolescents who are involved in a traffic accidents wear a helmet when cycling.
Research student Eva Olofsson has examined the consequences of road traffic injuries in children. One of her studies shows that approximately 30% of children who are injured in traffic suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder one month after the accident.
Many children affected by posttraumatic stress disorder after traffic accidents
Life in danger
The stress disorder lasts from three to six months in one sixth of the children.
"The children often experience much stress and fear in association with the accident, and may feel that their life is in danger. This can cause posttraumatic stress disorder (anxiety disorder) in the long term, and this may constitute a major obstacle in their everyday lives," says Eva Olofsson.
Another study asked 292 children who had been injured in traffic in the Gothenburg region about residual consequences of the accident. The children completed a questionnaire, which showed that one year after the accident 22% of the children were still suffering from mental and psychosocial problems connected with it.
This means that residual mental problems are more common among children who have been in an accident than physical problems (which affected 16% of children injured in traffic in the Gothenburg region).
The residual mental problems were, however, not related to the severity of the physical injuries.
"My results suggest that the experience of having an accident has a greater effect that the actual physical injuries. To be injured as an unprotected pedestrian in an accident with a vehicle can be experienced are more stressful, more frightening and more threatening than, for example, a cycling accident with no-one else involved. We saw also that receiving care as an inpatient, with procedures that may be experienced as frightening in an unfamiliar environment, may produce more stress than receiving care at a clinic and being allowed home the same day."
Cycle accidents most common
Cycling accidents are the most common cause of traffic injuries in children. Eva Olofsson's results show that it has become significantly more common that children who are injured in traffic are wearing a cycle helmet: In 1993 approximately 40% of children who were injured were wearing a helmet, while the figure in 2006 was 80%.
The fraction of children with skull or brain injuries after a cycling accident who received care at Drottning Silvia's Children's Hospital in Gothenburg fell during the period 1993-2006, but the fall was not statistically significant.
The incidence of facial injuries also fell, while the fraction with injuries to the arms, in contrast, increased.
"We can see that a cycle helmet provides good protection against severe and life-threatening skull and brain injuries, in all types of cycling accident. Further, a helmet protects against facial injuries," says Eva Olofsson.
Teenagers dumps the helmet
However, teenagers, particularly girls, are significantly less likely to wear a helmet. Despite new legislation in 2005 that stipulates that everyone under the age of 16 years must wear a helmet, less than 60% of children wore a helmet when cycling to and from school in 2012. Only 32% of cyclists in Sweden, adults and children, wore a helmet when cycling.
Eva Olofsson has worked as a nurse for more than 20 years, and has long experience of working with children injured in traffic accidents.
"Children are very vulnerable in traffic. It's important to determine what consequences a traffic injury may have for them, such that they can receive optimal care," says Eva.
Her conclusion is that the Accident & Emergency healthcare service should develop procedures to identify and follow up children injured in traffic who risk long-term mental, psychosocial and physical problems.
FACTS ON TRAFFIC INJURIES
WHO has determined that traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in children 15-17 years old, and the second-most frequent cause, after lung infections, in children aged 5-14 years. The average number of traffic-related deaths among children (0-17 years) in the world has been estimated to be 10 per 100,000 children (in 2004, WHO), with the highest incidences in Africa and the eastern Mediterranean area. The number of child traffic deaths in Sweden is one of the lowest in the world, and has fallen from 43 children per year in the period 1999-2003 to 20 children per year in 2011. An average of 3,578 children per year required inpatient hospital care for traffic injuries during the period 2005-2009, corresponding to 185/100,000. An average of 25,300 children per year required care at an A&E Department during the period 2007-2009, corresponding to 1,314/100,000.
Source: the National Board of Health and Welfare.
The thesis Children injured in traffic from a medical and psychosocial perspective – causes and consequences was successfully defended at a disputation held on May 9.
Link to the thesis: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/34397
research student at the Sahlgrenska Academy
University of Gothenburg
and registered nurse in pediatrics
Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde, Sweden
Cell: +46 73 913 1677
Principal supervisor has been Anna-Lena Andersson, Sahlgrenska Academy, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell: +46 70 560 9322.
Henrik Axlid | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences