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Trauma is the leading cause of death in children aged over 1 year.[1 2] The government has identified this problem as worthy of special attention. The Health of the Nation sets a target of reducing the death rate for accidents in children by at least 33% by the year 2005, to no more than 4.5 per 100 000. The principal methods of reducing the death rate are either to improve treatment for those injured or to prevent the injuries. We examined the timing of death after injury for insight into the potential of each stratagem.
Subjects, methods, and results
The deaths of all children after injury in south east Scotland are investigated by the police and by postmortem examination under the direction of the procurator fiscal. We identified deaths following trauma in children aged less than 15 years in Lothian and Borders regions of south east Scotland during the 11 years 1985-95 from forensic medicine records and the records of the procurator fiscal. …