Tag Archives: car accidents

Seatbelt Marks Indicate Trouble (Article)

Recognizing which children involved in an automobile accident have serious internal injuries can be a very difficult task for both physicians and parents. Some recent information, gathered by the Pediatric Academic Societies, seems to have made that recognition a little easier, however. These investigators have found that children with external marks from seatbelt injuries, also called the “seatbelt sign,” had a much higher probability of internal injures after a car accident. When young auto accident patients enter Emergency Departments (EDs), doctors are increasingly recognizing that bruising on the chest or abdomen from seatbelt trauma often means trouble, even if the child has little or no pain.

What is this “seatbelt sign?” Well, this physical sign is an elongated area of redness with possible bruising and tenderness on the skin caused by pressure from the seat belt during a collision. Although seen in adult accident patients as well, this bruising can be far more painful for small children and adolescents. Investigators surveyed 3,740 pediatric patients from multiple EDs after auto accidents. 16% had the seat-belt sign present while 84% did not. One in ten of the children with external seatbelt marks had serious internal injuries, especially intra-abdominal, regardless of whether they had pain.  Researchers concluded that external marks from a seat-belt are an important sign for parents and doctors to recognize after an auto accident.

This new data indicates that it is important for both physicians and parents to pay close attention to any bruises or areas of swelling on children involved in an auto accident, since these marks may indicate underlying serious injuries. This study also indicated that the seatbelt sign is not the only indication of abdominal injury; changes in a child’s breathing, low blood pressure, and abdominal tenderness were some of the other significant associated factors for detecting intra-abdominal injury. Dr. Angela Ellison, an emergency physician with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, reported that children with this seatbelt sign remain at high risk of injury, most notably gastrointestinal injury. Parents and doctors alike need to recognize and act on this important physical sign.

If you found this article interesting, take a moment to leave a comment at my blog, www.docsmo.com. While you are there, feel free to explore the hundreds of pedcasts and articles in the Doc Smo’s vault. Until next time.

Smo Notes:

1. http://www.pediatricnews.com/specialty-focus/injuries/single-article-page/seat-belt-sign-indicates-hidden-abdominal-injury-risk.html

Written collaboratively by norman Spencer and Paul Smolen M.D.

Does your child walk “Distracted”? (Article)

A recent study done by Safe Kids Worldwide has found drastic increases in teenage injuries and fatalities linked to crossing the street carelessly. Although crossing the road is a part of many teenagers’ everyday routine, few give a second thought as to how risky this seemingly simple task may be. When children are young, parents regularly remind them to look both ways and hold hands before crossing the street.  Unfortunately, when the teenage years arrive, many teens throw all caution to the wind. Many teenagers, with their mindsets of invulnerability, take safety for granted and allow distractions to take priority over basic safety. Almost 80% of teens believe that pedestrian accidents affect mostly younger children, but in reality, older teenagers account for over half of street crossing fatalities in children up to nineteen years of age. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, pedestrian injuries among 16-19 year olds have increased by over 25% in the past five years. One in five high schoolers and one in eight middle schoolers cross the street while distracted.

What has caused this surprising and sudden increase in injuries and fatalities among teen walkers? All signs point to increased distractions by talking, texting, listening to music, and video games.. As technology becomes more prevalent in teenage culture, the danger of being distracted while walking increase greatly. 39% of distractions were attributed to texting, and another 39% were due to listening to music with ear buds in place. Another 20% of distractions occurred while talking on the phone, and the final 2% were linked to the use of hand-held video games. When a teenager becomes distracted by technology, the real world becomes blocked out, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Take time today to begin a conversation with your children about distracted walking, bike riding, or even driving, Convince your teen to put away the phone, put down the videogame, and take out the ear buds while moving. Hearing and seeing oncoming traffic might give them the few seconds they need to avoid disaster. Urge them to use all their senses, look both ways, and pay attention while crossing the street. While it is probably impossible to prevent all pedestrian injuries in children, increasing caution and decreasing distractions is a good place to start. Telling your teen to be careful while crossing the road may seem elementary and cliché, but it could save their life.

Your comments and stories are welcome at my blog, www.docsmo.com.  While you are there, take a few moments to explore the literally hundreds of audio posts, interviews, book reviews, and articles about pediatric topics. Until next time.

Smo Notes:

  1. http://www.safekids.org/infographic/how-does-teen-cross-road

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.