Name of Project


Lead Local Health District

Mid North Coast

Research Project

Detecting non-accidental injury in children who present to the Emergency Department is challenging. The Emergency Department is a fast-paced and complex environment, and evidence-based strategies to recognise and respond to children at risk are a priority. In Australia and internationally, children often present to the Emergency Department and other healthcare providers numerous times before non-accidental injury is detected.

Multiple academic and industry partners are involved in this project, including the University of Sydney, eHealth, and the Emergency Care Institute. This pilot study will determine the clinical utility and uptake of a child injury protocol in rural (Mid North Coast Local Health District) and metropolitan (Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network) Emergency Departments. It will also determine if this protocol improves clinician documentation and referral of suspected abuse cases, and clinician self-efficacy and outcome expectations when responding to non-accidental injury.

Records of children aged six and under, who have presented to the Emergency Department with an injury, will be audited. Following this an E-Checklist will be incorporated into the Electronic Medical Record directing clinicians to consider ‘red flag’ indicators of non-accidental injury. A training program will be provided to clinicians alongside the E-Checklist.

The potential benefits of this study include:

  • Streamlined current practice in regional and urban Emergency Departments
  • Increased speed and accuracy of detecting non-accidental injury and referral
  • Improved communication to reduce Emergency Department admission time
  • Timely referral to specialist paediatric care and child protection services, and
  • Improved child injury outcomes and reduced child morbidity and mortality caused by repeat non-accidental injury.

Project Team Contacts

Dr Tara Flemington

Associate Professor Jennifer Fraser