Decreases in pediatric fractures during the COVID-19 pandemic — a nationwide epidemiological cohort study

Galia Zacay, Dalit Modan-Moses, Liana Tripto-Shkolnik, Yael Levy-Shraga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led to fundamental changes in daily routines of children. Our aim was to evaluate the incidence and characteristics of fractures among Israeli children during 2020 compared with 2015–2019. Demographic, clinical data, and incidence rates of fractures in individuals aged < 18 years were derived from the electronic database of Meuhedet Health Services, which provides healthcare services to 1.2 million people in Israel. We further subdivided the year to five periods according to government regulations of lockdown and isolation at each period. Fracture sites were determined according to ICD9 definitions. During 2020, 10,701 fractures occurred compared with 12,574 ± 599 fractures per year during 2015–2019 (p-value < 0.001). Fracture rates were lower during all periods in 2020. The largest decline was observed during the first lockdown for both boys (56% decline, 95% confidence interval [CI] 52–60%) and girls (47% decline CI 41–53%). While the fracture rate declined for most age groups, the largest decline was recorded for the age group 11–14 years, with significant reduction rates of 66% (CI 59–71%) for boys and 65% (CI 54–73%) for girls. The most prominent declines were of fractures of the hand bones of both boys and girls (64% and 59%, respectively). Conclusions: Our data showed a significant decrease in fracture rate in 2020 compared to the previous 5 years, as well as differences between periods within that year.What is New:•The COVID-19 pandemic led to fundamental change in daily routines of children with significant decrease in school attendance and sport activities.•Consequent to these public health measures, the incidence rate of pediatric fractures decreased significantly.What is New:•This study demonstrates declines in fracture rates during lockdown periods, with only partial reversing of the trends between the lockdown periods.•The most pronounced decline was observed during the first lockdown period.•The decline was most prominent in children aged 11-14 years; there was no significant change in fracture incidence of children aged <3 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1480
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Volume181
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Fracture

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