Surveillance Systems Could Reduce Injuries in Children

June 20, 2008

The creation of a country-wide injury surveillance system for unintentional child and adolescent injuries could help monitor risk and identify ways to reduce injuries in the United Kingdom, according to an editorial published in the June 21 issue of BMJ.

FRIDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- The creation of a country-wide injury surveillance system for unintentional child and adolescent injuries could help monitor risk and identify ways to reduce injuries in the United Kingdom, according to an editorial published in the June 21 issue of BMJ.

Graham Kirkwood and Allyson Pollock, from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K., note that unintentional injury accounts for 20 percent of all child and adolescent deaths in the European Union, and is a leading cause of death and illness in children in the United Kingdom. About 2 million visits to U.K. emergency departments are due to unintentional childhood injuries, at a cost of $288 million, and injuries are strongly associated with poverty.

Injury surveillance systems to monitor risk and develop initiatives to prevent injury in children can be useful to motivate policy makers and communities. However, the authors note that the United Kingdom, like many European countries, has no such system, and various parts of the country differ in their extent of injury surveillance. Noting that as much as one-third of injuries occur due to sports or recreational activities or in places used for such activities, injury surveillance systems and prevention strategies could be used to make sports safer and reduce the effect of social class on injury rates.

"For U.K. governments to improve the health and well-being of children and to reduce inequalities, much more is needed," Kirkwood and Pollock conclude. "U.K. governments must now find the resources to develop population-based injury surveillance systems so that the true incidence, causes, risk factors, and long-term sequelae of injuries can be used to inform evidence-based intervention."

Editorial

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