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Injury. 2016 Jan;47(1):188-91. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2015.08.037. Epub 2015 Sep 3.

The epidemiology of fractures in infants--Which accidents are preventable?

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Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Surgery, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria. Electronic address:
Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Surgery, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.



In children, fractures have a huge impact on the health care system. In order to develop effective prevention strategies exact knowledge about the epidemiology of fractures is mandatory. This study aims to describe clinical and epidemiological data of fractures diagnosed in infants.


A retrospective analysis of all infants (children<1 year of age) presenting with fractures in an 11 years period (2001-2011) was performed. Information was obtained regarding the location of the fractures, sites of the accident, circumstances and mechanisms of injury and post-injury care.


248 infants (54% male, 46% female) with a mean age of 7 months presented with 253 fractures. In more than half of the cases skull fractures were diagnosed (n=151, 61%). Most frequently the accidents causing fractures happened at home (67%). Falls from the changing table, from the arm of the care-giver and out of bed were most commonly encountered (n=92, 37%). While the majority of skull fractures was caused from falls out of different heights, external impacts tended to lead to fractures of the extremities. 6 patients (2%) were victims of maltreatment and sustained 10 fractures (2 skull fractures, 4 proximal humeral fractures, 2 rib fractures, and 2 tibial fractures).


Falls from the changing table, the arms of the caregivers and out of bed caused the majority of fractures (especially skull fracture) in infants. Therefore, awareness campaigns and prevention strategies should focus on these mechanisms of accident in order to decrease the rate of fractures in infants.


Fractures; Infants; Maltreatment; Skull

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