Child and Youth Traffic-Related Injuries: Use of a Trauma Registry to Identify Priorities for Prevention in the United Arab Emirates

Michal Grivna, Peter Barss, Cristina Stanculescu, Hani O. Eid, Fikri M. Abu-Zidan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Traffic-related injuries are the main cause of death during childhood and youth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), use of safety restraints by citizens is uncommon, rollovers are frequent, and current legislation does not protect rear-seat occupants. Because little was known about the circumstances of hospitalizations for traffic injuries to guide prevention, a trauma registry was used to assess causes and determinants for traffic-related injuries during childhood and youth (<19 years) and its value for prevention.Methods: One hundred ninety-three children and youth with traffic injuries were admitted for more than 24 h at surgical wards of the main trauma hospital in the Al-Ain region during a 36-month period (2003-2006). Injuries were analyzed by age, nationality, road user and vehicle types, severity, anatomical region, and the presence of head injury using Injury Severity Scores (ISS) and the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS).Results: Traffic injuries represented 40 percent (n = 193) of injuries to 0- to 19-year-olds, followed by falls (39 percent). Among 15- to 19-year-olds, who accounted for 46 percent of child and youth victims, the incidence was 150/100,000 person years, compared to an incidence of 15 to 51 for younger age groups. Overall, 53 percent were vehicle occupants, 23 percent were pedestrians, 14 percent were bicyclists, 6 percent were motorcyclists, with 4 percent other. The ratio of male-to-female victims was 6.7:1; for drivers it was 33:0; and for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists it was between 10:1 and 12:1; injured females were mainly rear-seat passengers and the male: female ratio was 1.4:1. Seventy-one percent of pedestrians were ≤9 years old. Although the ratio of UAE children to foreign children was estimated at 0.7:1 in the community, 58 percent of the injured were UAE citizens. The ratio of injured UAE: non-UAE citizens was 1.4:1 overall but 5.6:1 for drivers and 4.5:1 for motorcyclists. Forty-one percent of citizens were injured in 4-wheel drive sport utility vehicles compared to 13 percent of non-citizens. Head injuries occurred in 68 percent of vehicle occupants and 51 percent of nonoccupants, with AIS ≥ 3 injuries in 23 percent of occupants and 26 percent of nonoccupants. Sixty-seven percent of rear occupants had head injuries.Conclusions: Male drivers and vulnerable road users were at an unusually high risk relative to females. A relatively high frequency of traffic-related head injuries among UAE children and youth, including rear-seat passengers and other vehicle occupants, suggests that considerable preventable morbidity is associated with nonuse of safety restraints and/or other factors such as excess speed and rollovers of 4-wheel drive vehicles. Trauma registries can be useful for prevention; inclusion of data on safety restraints and helmet use by road user type is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • child restraints
  • epidemiology
  • prevention
  • safety belts
  • traffic safety
  • trauma registry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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