Reported safety environment predicts injuries among children aged 1–6 years in specific communities

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Abstract

Aim:

To measure individual and environmental risk factors predicting reported child injuries.

Methods:

A prospective, follow-up study was performed including 380 parents of children aged 1–6 years, living in various communities throughout Israel. Parents were interviewed three times, 3 months apart. Injuries were defined as including minor injuries that required parental attention and medically attended injuries: doctor or nurse visit, emergency medical services or hospitalisation. Parents reported the level of safety for both indoor and outdoor environments, covering 11 items pertaining to safety elements dedicated to prevent child injury. Socio-demographic and parents' attitudes towards child injury were also measured.

Results:

During the 6-month follow-up period, 37% of parents reported that their child was injured, and 29% of them received medical attention. Reported outdoor safety environment was found to be a predictor of child injury, suggesting that the risk of child injury is higher among children living in unsafe outdoor environments. However, this depended on levels of religiosity (with an odds ratio of 2.48 and 95% confidence interval of 1.09–5.64 for traditional families and an odds ratio of 3.65 and 95% confidence interval of 1.58–8.46 for religious families).

Conclusions:

Safe environments play a major role in decreasing the risk of injury among children. In order to decrease injury rates among young children, attention should be given to the immediate outdoor environment in which children grow up and play. Decision makers might particularly want to pay closer attention to the influence of religious backgrounds on child safety through safe environments.

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