d’Amato, Charles MD, FRCSC
Injuries to the spine in very young children are comparatively rare. The prevalence of upper cervical injuries and spinal cord injuries is greater. Spinal cord injury is more common in young children and fracture is less common than in older children and adolescents. This is because of the anatomic and biomechanical differences in the growing spine including a more horizontal facet orientation, greater elasticity of the soft tissues, less muscular development, and relatively greater head size compared to the trunk. These features are more pronounced in the very young child. The clinical and radiographic evaluation of small children can be difficult. Unossified bone and physeal cartilage can be confused with fractures. The evaluation, safe transportation, and spinal clearance of the unconscious multiply injured child suspected of having spinal injury present special challenges.
Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. (432):34-40, March 2005.