Understanding non-accidental trauma in the United States: A national trauma databank study

Eric H. Rosenfeld, Brittany Johnson, David E. Wesson, Sohail R. Shah, Adam M. Vogel, Bindi Naik-Mathuria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study is to characterize the epidemiology, injury patterns, outcomes and trends of non-accidental trauma (NAT) in the United States using a large national database. Methods: Children < 15 years presenting after NAT were identified in the 2007-2014 National Trauma Databank research datasets. Clinical and outcome data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square and logistic regression. Results: Of 678,503 children admitted for traumatic injuries, 3% (19,149) were victims of NAT. The majority (95%) were under 5 years and 71% under 1 year old. The majority (59%) were male. The median injury severity score (ISS) was 10 (IQR:5-19). African Americans were disproportionally affected (27% vs 17% of all traumas), and the majority had public or no insurance (85%). Incidence was highest in the midwest and lowest in the northeast regions of the country, although trends varied over time. NAT resulted in 43% of trauma deaths in children < 1 year and 31% of trauma deaths in children < 5. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) was the most commonly encountered diagnosis (50%). Polytrauma was common, and certain injury patterns were identified. Urgent operation was required in 6%, 43% were admitted to intensive care, and 9% died. Mortality was independently associated with TBI, thoracic injury, hollow viscus injury and older age. Conclusion: Non-accidental trauma is a leading cause of trauma mortality in young children. Multiple injuries are common, requiring comprehensive evaluation and early surgical involvement. The data presented in this study could serve as a guide to target injury prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-697
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • NAT
  • NTDB
  • Nonaccidental trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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