• (2002). Management of pediatric cervical spine and spinal cord injuries. Neurosurgery 50:S85-99. Summary: DIAGNOSTIC: Standards: There is insufficient evidence to support diagnostic standards. Guidelines: In children who have experienced trauma and are alert, conversant, have no neurological deficit, no midline cervical tenderness, and no painful distracting injury, and are not intoxicated, cervical spine x-rays are not necessary to exclude cervical spine injury and are not recommended. In children who have experienced trauma and who are either not alert, nonconversant, or have neurological deficit, midline cervical tenderness, or painful distracting injury, or are intoxicated, it is recommended that anteroposterior and lateral cervical spine x-rays be obtained. Options: In children younger than age 9 years who have experienced trauma, and who are nonconversant or have an altered mental status, a neurological deficit, neck pain, or a painful distracting injury, are intoxicated, or have unexplained hypotension, it is recommended that anteroposterior and lateral cervical spine x-rays be obtained. In children age 9 years or older who have experienced trauma, and who are nonconversant or have an altered mental status, a neurological deficit, neck pain, or a painful distracting injury, are intoxicated, or have unexplained hypotension, it is recommended that anteroposterior, lateral, and open-mouth cervical spine x-rays be obtained. Computed tomographic scanning with attention to the suspected level of neurological injury to exclude occult fractures or to evaluate regions not seen adequately on plain x-rays is recommended. Flexion/extension cervical x-rays or fluoroscopy may be considered to exclude gross ligamentous instability when there remains a suspicion of cervical spine instability after static x-rays are obtained. Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spine may be considered to exclude cord or nerve root compression, evaluate ligamentous integrity, or provide information regarding neurological prognosis. TREATMENT: Standards: There is insufficient evidence to support treatment standards. Guidelines: There is insufficient evidence to support treatment guidelines. Options: Thoracic elevation or an occipital recess to prevent flexion of the head and neck when restrained supine on an otherwise flat backboard may allow for better neutral alignment and immobilization of the cervical spine in children younger than 8 years because of the relatively large head in these younger children and is recommended. Closed reduction and halo immobilization for injuries of the C2 synchondrosis between the body and odontoid is recommended in children younger than 7 years. Consideration of primary operative therapy is recommended for isolated ligamentous injuries of the cervical spine with associated deformity.