Find education and resources for children’s trauma and injury prevention. 

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Pediatric Trauma


Injury Prevention


What is trauma?

Trauma is any physical injury caused by accident, violence or other forces. Serious trauma can lead to death or disability. There are three types of physical trauma:

  • Burns
  • Blunt trauma (caused by impact or other force with a blunt object)
  • Penetrating trauma (when the skin or tissue is pierced by an object)

What is a trauma center?

Trauma centers are specially equipped hospitals, that offer specialized care for seriously injured children and adults. Trauma center care guarantees the immediate availability of specialized medical personnel and equipment. The goal of a trauma center is to quickly identify injuries and begin life-saving treatment.

An integrated trauma program covers all phases of care including:

  • Pre-hospital care
  • Resuscitation (save) and stabilization in the Emergency Department
  • Surgical care, if required
  • Inpatient critical care and specialty care
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Injury prevention

Why a trauma center?

Good trauma care depends on getting the right patient to the right place at the right time. The right place is determined by matching the patient’s needs with the appropriate trauma-trained professional. The trauma center is the most appropriate medical facility for treating seriously injured children. The trauma center begins with pre-hospital care and continues through injury rehabilitation and hospital discharge.

What is a Level I trauma center?

Penn State Children’s Hospital is the only Level I trauma center in south central Pennsylvania. Because of the large staff and facility, as well as the resources needed for patient care, education and research, most Level I trauma centers in the United States are affiliated with university teaching hospitals. A Level l trauma center is a regional resource facility and has the capability to provide total care for all aspects of trauma, from prevention through rehabilitation. The Level I center participates in trauma research, and sponsors public and provider programs.