Approximately 435,000 children ages 0-14 years visit U.S. emergency departments annually following head trauma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( While the majority of these children sustain minor injury, about 8.5% of injured pediatric patients require hospitalization.

Symptoms of intracranial hemorrhage such as vomiting or headache often are present in children without injury detectable by routine imaging. Computed tomography (CT) is widely accepted as the diagnostic standard for children with head injury, yet it poses a small but significant risk due to ionizing radiation. It is estimated that 1 in 1,500 children younger than 15 who undergo one CT examination of the head will develop a lethal malignancy attributable to the CT during their lifetime (


The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) recently addressed the need for evidence to guide imaging decisions in children...

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