Relation of child, caregiver, and environmental characteristics to childhood injury in an urban Aboriginal cohort in New South Wales, Australia

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Abstract

Objective: Despite being disproportionately affected by injury, little is known about factors associated with injury in Aboriginal children. We investigated factors associated with injury among urban Aboriginal children attending four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in New South Wales, Australia.

Methods: We examined characteristics of caregiver-reported child injury, and calculated prevalence ratios of ‘ever-injury’ by child, family, and environmental factors.

Results: Among children in the cohort, 29% (n=373/1,303) had ever broken a bone, been knocked out, required stitches or been hospitalised for a burn or poisoning; 40–78% of first injuries occurred at home and 60–91% were treated in hospital. Reported ever-injury was significantly lower (prevalence ratio ≤0.80) among children who were female, younger, whose caregiver had low psychological distress and had not been imprisoned, whose family experienced few major life events, and who hadn't experienced alcohol misuse in the household or theft in the community, compared to other cohort members.

Conclusions: In this urban Aboriginal child cohort, injury was common and associated with measures of family and community vulnerability.

Implications for public health: Prevention efforts targeting upstream injury determinants and Aboriginal children living in vulnerable families may reduce child injury. Existing broad-based intervention programs for vulnerable families may present opportunities to deliver targeted injury prevention.

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