Estimated 2.5% of U.S. Kids Have Had TBI in Their Lifetime

The lifetime prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among children age <17 years was an estimated 2.5%, based on parents’ reports of healthcare professionals’ diagnoses, an analysis of national survey data found.

This represents more than 1.8 million children nationally. Unlike previous estimates, it likely includes TBIs that were treated in settings other than emergency departments (EDs), reported Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues in JAMA Pediatrics.

cross the country, estimates of TBI ranged from an age-adjusted prevalence of 1.2% in Mississippi to 5.3% in Maine, with prevalence higher in states with higher estimates of private health insurance (OR 1.36) or parent-reported adequate insurance (OR 1.16). “This could result in a greater likelihood of seeking healthcare after TBI, which may lead to higher estimates of diagnosed TBIs,” Haarbauer-Krupa told MedPage Today.

But it “could also indicate that some childhood TBIs go untreated for lack of health insurance,” she observed.

The analysis also found that children with a lifetime history of TBI were more likely to have a variety of health and developmental conditions, compared with children without a history of TBI, including:

  • Learning disorders: 21.4%
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder: 20.5%
  • Speech/language problems: 18.6%
  • Developmental delay: 15.3%
  • Bone, joint, or muscle problems: 14.2%
  • Anxiety problems: 13.2%

“These findings support further inquiries about a child’s TBI and overall health history by healthcare providers to ensure optimal recovery and outcomes after childhood TBI,” Haarbauer-Krupa said.

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