Australia and New Zealand guidelines for childhood head injuries created

While head injury is one of the most common reasons for children to present to an emergency department there have previously not been any standardised guidelines on how to best manage these injuries in Australia and New Zealand until now.

In response to this, a network of specialists from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) have recently created Australia and New Zealand’s first set of clinical guidelines for childhood head injuries.

Published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the guidelines will enable emergency department clinicians to best diagnose and treat children’s head injuries, while also reducing unnecessary exposure to radiation from CT scans.

They also address head injuries in children with underlying problems, such as bleeding disorders.

“While we need to rule out any bleeding in the brain, we don’t want to order CT scans unnecessarily, because it increases children’s lifetime radiation exposure,” says Professor Franz Babl, MCRI Group Leader of Emergency Research.

The guidelines were developed by the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) following an extensive search and assessment of international guidelines such as those used in Canada, the US and the UK.

The PREDICT working group developed 71 recommendations and an imagining/observation algorithm relevant to the Australian and New Zealand setting.

The new guidelines cover patient triage, imaging, observation versus admission, transfer, discharge and follow up, and can be view at: