Objective: To estimate the rate of childhood injury resulting in attendance at Accident and Emergency Departments, to describe the types of accidents and injuries seen and to relate these to socio-economic indices for ward of residence.
Methods: Data were collected from Accident and Emergency records, on every fifth day for a year, for children 0-14 y, who attended following unintentional injury and were resident within the study area.
Results: 1147 children fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The annual rate of attendance was 138.2 per 1000. There was a higher rate of attendance in boys than in girls in all age groups and the gender difference was particularly marked for severe injuries. Social deprivation, measured by Townsend score, of ward of residence was a powerful predictor of risk of attendance; accounting for 33% of the variance between wards.
Conclusion: Unintentional injury results in high rates of attendance at Accident and Emergency Departments although the rates in this community were substantially lower than those reported from elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Risk of injury was strongly related to social disadvantage. District based data collection can be used to facilitate the development of priorities and a locally applicable safety agenda for children.