Age, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Factors Impacting Infant and Toddler Fall-Related Trauma

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Abstract

Objective

To characterize trauma-related falls in infants and toddlers aged 0 to 3 years over a 4-year period and develop a risk stratification model of causes of fall injuries.

Methods

Data on falls of 0 to 3 year olds from 2009 to 2012 were identified from a Jerusalem tertiary hospital trauma registry (N = 422) and the National Trauma Registry of Israel (N = 4,131).

Results

Almost half of falls occurred during the first year of life, and 57% of the children were Jewish. The majority of the children lived in low socioeconomic environments, both in the Jewish (59.2%) and Arab (97.6%) samples. Most (74%) of the falls resulted in head injury. A classification and regression tree analysis indicated that falls from furniture were the leading cause of injury in 0 to 12 month olds (estimated probability of 37.9%), whereas slipping is the leading cause in 13 to 36 month olds (estimated probability of 38.4%). Age and ethnicity emerged as the leading predictors of the nature of a fall; Injury Severity Score and the child's sex were secondary. Compared with the national data, Jerusalem children had a higher incidence of falls from buildings (9.3%; 2.4%), a higher moderate-severe Injury Severity Score (>16), a higher incidence of traumatic brain injury, and a longer hospital length of stay (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

The leading determinants of fall injuries in children below the age of 3 years are age, ethnicity, and low socioeconomic status. Future outreach community interventions should target these risk groups and be tailored to their defining characteristics.

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