The annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics was held from Oct. 7 to 11 in Anaheim, California, and attracted participants from around the world, including primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, and other health care professionals. The conference featured scientific sessions that focused on the latest advances in the care of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.
In one study, Brent Troy, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues found that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant disruption in the daily routines of patient populations and likely contributed to an increase in pediatric injuries for children engaged in activities with recommended helmet usage, such as bicycling and riding all-terrain vehicles.
The authors analyzed data from two large pediatric trauma centers, evaluating trends in helmet use, head injuries, and neurosurgical consultations. The researchers observed a 37 percent increase in pediatric injuries between 2018 and 2020, resulting from activities where helmet use was encouraged. In addition, within the local hospital system’s pediatric patient population, the researchers saw a rate of 1.85 injuries per 10,000 pediatric patients in 2018 compared with 3.43 injuries per 10,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigators also noted an increase in head injuries (56 in 2018 to 140 in 2020) and severe head injuries requiring neurosurgical consultation (17 in 2018 to 87 in 2020).
“Overall, the increase in injuries seemed most problematic for those who were publicly insured (104 injuries in 2018 to 252 injuries in 2020),” Troy said. “For clinicians, it’s important to have a conversation with families on safe riding when participating in activities where helmet usage is routinely recommended, as we are seeing an increase in overall injuries, especially severe head injuries requiring neurosurgical evaluation.”
In another study, Irma T. Ugalde, M.D., of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, and colleagues found that firearm injuries were higher during the first two COVID-19 pandemic years, with African American children experiencing rises in firearm injuries annually.
The authors performed a retrospective review of patient records between 2019 and 2021 of firearm injuries presenting to the pediatric emergency department. The researchers found that while there was a 34 percent decline in total pediatric emergency department visits at their center from 2019 to 2020, the total number of firearm injuries rose from 88 in 2019 to 118 in 2020 and 115 in 2021 among children 17 years of age and younger. The investigators observed a doubling of firearm injuries in African American children from 2019 to 2021. While the percentages of intent classification (suicide, homicide/violence, and accidental) among patients injured by firearms remained similar across the years, there were some notable differences, with accidental injuries declining in 2021 and homicide/violence increasing across the year.
“Health care workers and those working with children should remain vigilant about screening for potential risk factors for violence and safe storage practices,” Ugalde said.
Natasha Gill, M.D., of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and colleagues identified disparities in how much preparation individual households with children have for wildfires and reducing wildfire smoke exposure, with many of these disparities hitting hardest in communities with less education (high school or less) or with minority populations (Hispanic/Latino).
The authors used cross-sectional surveys and performed qualitative interviews with parents or caregivers within the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. The researchers found that children are especially vulnerable to health issues from wildfires and wildfire smoke exposure, particularly breathing complications. Knowing wildfires disproportionately affect resource-limited areas and minority populations, children in these communities face the greatest risk for having not only poor health outcomes but also housing loss, displacement, and long-term mental health issues.
“Future studies are needed to create standardized, culturally sensitive, low-literacy educational materials and tool kits to prepare these at-risk populations for wildfire disasters,” Gill said. “Whether you are a pediatrician or someone who provides care for children, you can play a key role in identifying vulnerable youth before the start of wildfire season and provide educational tools/strategies to mitigate the serious physical and mental health issues in this population.”
Catherine McDonald, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and PENN Injury Science Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues found that cellphone monitoring could provide insight into adolescent driving behaviors.
Using a cellphone telematics application, the authors collected on-road data for a group of 165 licensed adolescent drivers. The researchers found that speeding occurred in about 40 percent of trips and handheld cellphone use occurred in just over 30 percent of trips. In addition, they noted there was little nighttime driving recorded. The researchers did not observe any differences in boys and girls regarding speeding, cellphone use, or nighttime driving, but boys had more kinematic risky driving events like hard braking and rapid accelerations.
“We want teen drivers to be safe on the road for themselves, their passengers, and the people who share the road with them. We need to encourage safe driving and find ways to help prevent those risky driving behaviors like speeding and cellphone use that can lead to a crash,” McDonald said. “The data from these teens gives us another way of observing driving behaviors. Though this is a preliminary analysis with the data, clinicians may use some of this information on driving behaviors as they frame conversations with teens and parents about safe driving behaviors.”
AAP: 2011 to 2020 Saw Rise in Pediatric E-Scooter Injuries
FRIDAY, Oct. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The incidence of injury in children using standing electric scooters is increasing, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 7 to 11 in Anaheim, California.
AAP: Children’s Body Mass Index Rose During Pandemic
FRIDAY, Oct. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Children, particularly girls, experienced significant increases in body mass index during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 7 to 11 in Anaheim, California.
AAP: Rates of In-Hospital Breastfeeding Dropped During Pandemic
THURSDAY, Oct. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the rates of breastfeeding among newborns in the normal nursery at a single medical center, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 7 to 11 in Anaheim, California.
AAP: Fractures in Children From Bicycle Riding Down From 2001 to 2021
THURSDAY, Oct. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The national burden of fractures associated with children riding bicycles has shown a steady decrease for many years, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 7 to 11 in Anaheim, California.
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