Table 1

Differences in patient characteristics between young children and adolescents (N=37 420)

Children 3 months–12 years
n=34 843
n (%)
Children ≥12 years
n=2577
n (%)
Male19 182 (55.1)1307 (50.7)
Age in years, median (IQR)2.6 (1.3–4.9)14.5 (13.2–16.1)
Comorbidity†
 Simple4302 (12.5)489 (19.1)
 Complex1332 (3.9)241 (9.4)
Duration of fever*
 <24 hours11 410 (35.1)854 (37.3)
 24–48 hours10 622 (32.7)682 (29.8)
 >48 hours10 433 (31.1)755 (33.0)
Referral
 Self19 537 (57.8)1231 (49.4)
 General practitioner/private paediatrician5654 (16.7)493 (19.8)
 Emergency medical service5010 (14.8)430 (17.3)
 Other3574 (10.6)337 (13.5)
Triage urgency
 High: immediate, very urgent, intermediate11 664 (34.5)967 (38.9)
Vital signs‡ and PEWS
 Tachycardia APLS8552 (24.5)764 (29.6)
 Tachypnoea APLS5282 (15.2)189 (7)
 Hypoxia, oxygen saturation <95% APLS805 (2.3)30 (1)
 Prolonged capillary refill ≥3 s (ns)343 (1.1)25 (1)
 Simplified PEWS 6 or higher782 (4.5)81 (6)
NICE ‘red traffic lights’ (alarming signs)
 Ill appearance5203 (15.6)559 (23.1)
 Increased work of breathing3050 (10.0)67 (3)
 Rash: petechiae/non-blanching1040 (3.4)53 (2)
 Decreased consciousness (ns)178 (1)16 (1)
 Meningeal signs97 (0)23 (1)
 Status epilepticus (ns)58 (0)8 (0)
 Focal neurology110 (0)19 (1)
  • Missing values: general patient characteristics: <7%; vital signs: 9%–23%; NICE alarming signs: 1%–18%.

  • All comparisons were p<0.001, unless otherwise indicated.

  • *P≤0.05.

  • †Comorbidity: a chronic underlying condition that is expected to last at least 1 year. Complex comorbidity: a chronic condition in ≥2 body systems or malignancy or immunocompromised patients.

  • ‡According to APLS cut-off values by age.

  • APLS, Advanced Paediatric Life Support; NICE, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; NS, not significant; PEWS, Paediatric Early Warning Scores.