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Home environment and unintentional injuries sustained in falls by young children

Karin Mack, PhD, Julie Gilchrist, MD, and Michael F. Ballesteros, PhD. NCIPC, DUIP, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy, NE, Mailstop K63, Atlanta, GA 30341, 770.488.4389, kmack@cdc.gov

Purpose. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal emergency department (ED) visits among children aged birth-14 years, accounting for 2.4 million ED visits annually (Ballesteros, et al. 2003). This paper extends work on this topic with detailed analyses of national level data for children aged birth-9 years regarding the potential circumstances and outcomes of injury events.

Methods. Data are from the 2001-2002 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System- All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP). NEISS-AIP is a probability sample representative of US EDs. Information collected includes: diagnosis, body part affected, cause, limited information about the injury event, age, and sex. Estimates are weighted and analyzed with SUDAAN.

Results. Falls were the precipitating cause of an injury in an estimated 1.7 million annual ED visits for children aged 0-9 years and 1.4% required hospitalization (in 2002, 22,864 children). Over half of fall injuries were initially determined to have occurred in and around the home. Injuries sustained were largely lacerations (40.3%;95%CI=38.9-41.6), contusions/abrasions (21.9%;95%CI=19.5-24.3%), or fractures (13.2%;95%CI=12.1-14.4%). Analyses indicate that while many home falls occurred in child play situations outdoors (in 2002, 23,803 falls involved a scooter), there are substantial injuries from falls inside the home (e.g., in 2002, 158,042 injuries involved a bed and 138,477 a chair or couch).

Conclusions. Results help build the much needed epidemiologic framework upon which targeted, evidence-based interventions can be developed. Preventive measures to reduce incidents of injuries from falls in young children will likely require multi-faceted interventions that involve both environmental and behavioral strategies.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Injuries, Children

Related Web page: webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/nfilead.html

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Child and Adolescent Injuries

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA