Physicians can safely omit taking a routine skull x ray in children 1 to 14 years of age who present to the emergency room with a head injury according to researchers in Scotland who have published their study in this month's Archives of Diseases in Childhood.
The study authors conclude that the mechanism of head injury, a history of drowsiness, a loss of consciousness and a reduced score on the Glasgow coma score (GCS) are the most important indicators of a serious head injury in children. If these findings are present then their is cause for an immediate computed tomography study (CT scan) of the brain. The investigators say that using this protocol, children will be spared needless skull x rays. The article also reports that 10% of all childhood hospital admissions in the United Kingdom are due to head injury.