Daylight Savings Time: Spring Forward to more Pediatric Fractures ?
Published on: 2018-10-29
Introduction: Orthopedic injuries in children account for a substantial proportion of pediatric emergency room visits each year. The incidence of these injuries may be associated with various environmental and temporal factors such as changes in the weather, time of day or amount of sunlight. These conditions could play a larger role in pediatric fractures specifically, as warmer, sunnier weather often promotes more outdoor play, and thus more chances for injury. This study will examine the effect of daylight savings time (DST) (as well as other environmental factors) on the incidence of pediatric fractures, with the hypothesis that there will be an increase in the amount of fractures due to the extra hour of sunlight and increasingly warmer weather. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on 69 pediatric patients presenting to the emergency department with a fracture in need of reduction with a mini-C arm over a six month period (December 2014-May 2015). Gender, age, mechanism of injury, date and time of injury, bones fractured, and type of reduction needed were recorded. Weather data from each day of injury was obtained from the National Climatic Data Center’s Quality Controlled Local Climatological Database. Results: During the study period, 69 pediatric fractures requiring reduction with the mini-C arm were treated – 25 (36%) occurring before DST and 44 (64%) after DST. The rate of fractures was significantly higher during the spring months of April and May (p<0.005), days with more sunlight hours (p<0.005), days with warmer temperatures (p<0.005), and during the 3PM-8PM time frame (p<0.05). Additionally, significantly more injuries occurred outdoors after DST than before (p<0.05). There was a significant difference between the mechanisms of injury before vs after DST (p<0.05). Discussion: The results of the current study demonstrate helpful information for emergency room personnel planning and resource distribution related to pediatric orthopedic care. Resource needs can be anticipated to be higher after DST, in the warmer months, during the “after school rush” of 3PM-8PM and on days with higher average temperatures.