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March 6, 1978

Pediatric Injury and the Steel Jaw Trap

Author Affiliations

Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore

JAMA. 1978;239(10):931. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280370027017

To the Editor.—  Pediatric textbooks routinely comment that accidents are the leading cause of death and morbidity in children and that most are preventable. I wish to report an unusual hazard that may become more common as our increasing population moves into previously sparsely settled areas.I recently treated a 4-year-old, righthanded girl who was caught by her right hand in a steel jaw trap that had been set by an unknown person in a small woods behind her home. The episode resulted in crush fractures and tendon disruption involving three fingers of her hand and required reconstructive surgery. The prognosis for a complete recovery of fine motor skills is doubtful.As with many other preventable health problems, this matter is best solved by changing public policy. The statement has been made that use of more humane animal traps will cause outbreaks of rabies and leptospirosis. That this is an