Background: In the western world, trauma is the leading cause of disability and mortality in the 1–39 years age group. Road accidents constitute the most frequent cause of mortality among children older than 1 year and falls from a height are the most frequent cause of injuries requiring hospitalization.
Objectives: To analyze the epidemiology and characteristics of severe pediatric trauma due to falls from a height in northern Israel. This analysis should aid in planning an effective intervention plan.
Methods: This observational study included all patients aged 0–14 who died or were admitted to an intensive care unit in northern Israel following a steep fall. Demographic and clinical data were collected retrospectively for 3 years and prospectively for 1 year.
Results: A total of 188 children were severely injured or died following such a fall, with an annual rate of 11.4 per 100,000 children. Over 85% of severe injuries due to falls occurred among non-Jewish children, with an incidence rate 6.36 times higher than among Jewish children (20.17 and 3.17 per 100,000 children, respectively). In the non-Jewish sector 93.7% of the falls occurred at or around the child’s home, mainly from staircases, balconies and roofs.
Conclusions: A very high incidence of severe trauma due to domestic falls from a height was found among non-Jewish children in northern Israel. Domestic falls represent an important epidemiological problem in the non-Jewish pediatric sector, and an effective prevention plan should include measures to modify parents’ attitudes towards safety issues and the creation of a safe domestic environment.