Risk-Inducing Activities Leading to Injuries in a Child and Adolescent Population of Germany

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Background:Injuries are the most common cause of mortality in children, also accounting considerably for childhood morbidity. However, data on injuries only provide valid information on the actual risk of each injury-causing activity when taken in consideration of the relationship with actual activity exposure data. Therefore, the primary goal of this investigation is to determine the relative risk of normal child and adolescent activities.Methods:From January 1, 1999 to December 31, 2001, a school questioning in regard to social, pedagogic, and leisure activities was performed among 2,325 students ranging from 6 to 17 years old. A total of 3,645 injuries sustained by children and adolescents treated at the surgical emergency department of the University Hospital Dresden were analyzed. Furthermore, a danger awareness test was performed.Results:Forty-three percent of all injuries happened during leisure time, 41% at school, 8% in traffic, and 8% at home. Bicycle riding was pointed out as the most frequent leisure activity, regardless of gender and age. Horse riding had a 9-fold increased risk and moped driving had a 23.75-fold increased risk for injury compared with adolescent bike riding. Horse riding and snowboarding showed an increased risk for injury in children (5.6- and 4.2-fold, relative to biking). The level of danger awareness was significantly lower in children with a history of frequent injuries.Conclusions:The riskier activities were horse-riding, moped driving, and snowboarding. The level of danger awareness did affect the frequency of injuries. The authors recommend a danger awareness test for all children to identify those who would benefit from injury prevention training.

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