Neighborhood Affects Child's Risk of Serious Injury

April 3, 2008

In England, rates of serious injury are significantly higher among children from the poorest neighborhoods than they are among children from the most affluent neighborhoods, and injury patterns also vary between children living in rural and urban settings, according to a report published online April 1 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- In England, rates of serious injury are significantly higher among children from the poorest neighborhoods than they are among children from the most affluent neighborhoods, and injury patterns also vary between children living in rural and urban settings, according to a report published online April 1 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Phil Edwards, Ph.D., of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed 1999-2004 data on U.K. hospital admission rates for serious injuries among children aged 15 and younger.

Compared to children from the most affluent neighborhoods, the researchers found that children from the poorest neighborhoods had an increased risk of experiencing serious injuries as pedestrians and cyclists (rate ratios, 4.1 and 3.0, respectively). Compared to urban areas, the investigators also found that serious injury rates among child pedestrians were lower in towns and fringe areas (RR, 0.67) and in villages (RR, 0.64), but that the serious injury rate among children riding in vehicles was higher in villages (RR, 1.51).

"To reduce both incidence and inequalities in non-fatal injury, the major policy need is for road environments to be safer for young pedestrians and cyclists," the authors write. "There is evidence that reducing the speed and volume of car traffic would achieve this, reducing the overall number of injuries, and -- given that greater exposure as a pedestrian partly accounts for the inequalities -- the higher injury rates in more deprived areas."

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