Pediatric Trauma Program

Every year, approximately 4.5 million children, less than 18 years of age, sustain an injury requiring treatment at emergency departments across the United States (1). In addition, almost 190,000 children suffer injuries serious enough to require hospital admission. Top mechanisms seen in non-fatal injuries include falls (29.61%), struck by/against (21.15%), cut/pierce (8.38%), and motor vehicle collisions (5.83%). Males are more prone to injury over females and ages 0-4 and 15-17 are seen in higher numbers.

Injury is the number one cause of death in pediatrics, and results in more deaths than all other causes combined. In 2021, there were a total of 13,469 injury-related childhood deaths, resulting in 719,651 years of potential life lost. Top mechanisms of traumatic pediatric fatalities include firearms (24.26%), motor vehicle (22.98%), and falls (1.18%). In looking at the intent of these deaths, 59.27% are classified as unintentional, 20.79% are homicide-related, and 16.55% are suicide-related. In 2021, Tennessee had a total of 340 pediatric deaths. The manner of these deaths was unintentional at 65%, homicides at 19.41%, and suicides at 11.47%. The mechanism attributed to Tennessee’s fatalities were firearms (29.45%), suffocation (29.11%), motor vehicle (25.68%), drowning (8.56%), and drug poisoning (7.19%).

Research has shown that children treated at pediatric trauma centers have improved outcomes and survival rates (2). Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is one of two verified Level I Pediatric Trauma Centers in the state of Tennessee and the only Trauma Center located in Middle Tennessee (3). We understand that treating children is different from treating adults, which is why our hospital’s workforce is made up of staff trained in the specialized care of the pediatric trauma patient from infancy to adolescence. All members of our care team, including physicians, surgeons, advanced nurses, social workers, and our support teams, are highly skilled in caring for severe or life-threatening pediatric injuries. Our Trauma Program offers a complete set of evidence-based pediatric-specific trauma standards and protocols, so every child receives the most up-to-date quality care. The trauma team provides expertly coordinated care that focuses not just on the treatment of the injury but also on the emotional needs of the patient and family.

The goal of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Trauma Program is to provide optimal care between the time of injury and discharge. The trauma team provides expertly coordinated care that focuses not just on the treatment of the injury but also on the emotional needs of the patient and family.

Our Trauma Program’s mission:

  • The Trauma Program is dedicated to the optimal care of the trauma patient, family integration, data management, performance improvement, injury prevention, education, advocacy, and research focusing on improving our service and accountability to all individuals and the communities that we serve.

Routinely inspected by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma (ACS COT), our verified Pediatric Level I Trauma Center is committed to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured pediatric patients.  The ACS verification is important for the consumer because it ensures that a hospital with a Level I status not only has the resources necessary to treat severe injuries, but also can provide an entire spectrum of care to address the needs of the patients and necessary psychological and social support for relatives and siblings, all impacted by a profound trauma in the family. 

As an ACS verified Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, we can provide seamless care for all varieties of injury types with additional specialty needs outside of our Trauma Service.

Available Surgical Specialties at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Pediatric Anesthesia Burn Brachial Plexus Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Craniofacial Surgery Gynecologic Surgery Pediatric Hand Surgery Pediatric Neurosurgery
Pediatric Ophthalmology Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery Pediatric Otolaryngology
Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery Pediatric Plastic Surgery Pediatric Urology Vascular Surgery


Additional Services and Departments at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

Pediatric Cardiology Child Life Services

Pediatric Critical Care

Pediatric ECMO Program
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Pediatric Gastroenterology General Pediatrics Infectious Disease
Pediatric Nephrology Pediatric Neurology Pediatric Pain Management Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Pediatric Psychiatry Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine Pediatric Radiology Pediatric Rehabilitation Acute Care Services


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