The need to transfer a patient to a pediatric trauma center should be based on the need for treatment that the initial hospital cannot provide. Ideally, a seriously injured child would receive care from a pediatric trauma specialist. However, this is impractical and not always achievable. Additionally, adolescents (age 12 and over), whose anatomic and physiologic characteristics are essentially those of adults, account for up to 50 percent of injured children. Younger children may do better with pediatric traumatologists. Children are more likely to have successful nonoperative management of blunt trauma injuries at a designated pediatric trauma center.13 At least one study has shown that pediatric patients can be appropriately managed in "adult" trauma centers, but the data may be biased by not including children referred to a pediatric trauma center from the prehospital environment. There are no studies to date that have shown that children receive better care in an "adult" trauma center as compared with a designated pediatric trauma center.
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