Trauma team triggers, paediatric

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Criteria for triggering the paediatric trauma team and how to activate it.


Paediatric trauma.


Paediatric Emergency Department clinicians.

This applies to all SAS/ EMRS Trauma Pre-alert calls ONLY

Physiological criteria

Abnormal GCS after trauma

Absent vital signs after trauma

Catastrophic haemorrhage/ ‘Code Red’

Children <5 years with systolic BP <60 or HR >180

Children >5 years with systolic BP <70 or HR >160


Anatomical criteria

Penetrating injury to head, neck or torso

Suspected open, depressed or basal skull fracture

Suspected spinal injury with new onset neurology

Significant bruising to chest or abdomen

Traumatic amputation/ mangled extremity above wrist or ankle

Suspected pelvic fracture

Two or more proximal long bone fractures

One or more open long bone fractures

Burn/scald >20% TBSA; facial or circumferential burn injury


Mechanism of Injury Criteria

Major vehicle deformity

Ejection from motor vehicle

Traumatic death in same incident

Entrapment for >30 mins

Vehicle occupant RTA >40mph

Cyclist/pedestrian vs. vehicle >20mph

Uninterrupted fall >3m (10 feet)

Strangulation/ hanging

Driveway run over injuries

Handlebar injuries with abdominal and/or groin pain

Near drowning

High voltage electrocution

Fall from or trample by large animal


If none of the above criteria are met but there is clinical concern a trauma call should be initiated at the discretion of most senior ED clinician

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 19 November 2019

Next review: 01 November 2021

Author(s): Dr. Marie Spiers & Dr Christina Harry (Joint RHC Clinical Leads for Trauma)

Co-Author(s): Dr Mark Davidson (Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care), Dr Vince Choudhery (Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine)

Approved By: Joint Clinical Leads for Trauma, RHC