Pediatric cervical spine injury (CSI) that is related to blunt
trauma occurs in 1% to 2% of all children who are admitted
to the hospital after blunt trauma1-3. Cervical spine clearance
for potential injury is performed daily in emergency departments (EDs) throughout the world. However, in a recent survey of level-I pediatric trauma centers in North America, only
46% of institutions had a written pediatric cervical spine clearance protocol4
In pediatric centers, an algorithmic approach or protocol
for cervical spine clearance reduces time to cervical collar
removal5 and limits patient exposure to ionizing radiation by
reducing the use of radiography and computed tomography
(CT)6,7. Published protocols and clinical guidelines for pediatric cervical spine clearance differ in criteria for clinical clearance and the use of imaging7-12.
The Pediatric Cervical Spine Clearance Working Group
(PCSCWG), a subgroup of the Pediatric Cervical Spine Study
Group, recognized the need for a consensus on comprehensive standardized guidelines for pediatric cervical spine clearance based on the best available evidence. We established a multidisciplinary group of practitioners with expertise in
cervical spine clearance for injured children and applied
the Delphi method and the nominal group technique to create consensus statements regarding pediatric cervical spine
clearance in young patients who have experienced blunt
trauma13,14. The consensus statements were used to develop
an algorithm to guide institutional protocols for cervical spine