Injury-producing events among children in low-income communities: the role of community characteristics

J Urban Health. 2000 Mar;77(1):34-49. doi: 10.1007/BF02350961.


Study purpose: Injury remains the leading cause of death in children aged 1 to 4 years. Past studies of determinants of injuries among young children have most often focused on the microlevel, examining characteristics of the child, parent, family, and home environments. We sought to determine whether and how selected neighborhood economic and physical characteristics within these low-income communities are related to differences in risk of events with injury-producing potential among infants and young children.

Methods: Our study used both individual-level data and information on the characteristics of the neighborhood of residence to describe the prevalence of events with injury-producing potential among infants and young children in three low-income communities in Baltimore City, Maryland. Our sample was 288 respondents who participated in a random household survey. Information on respondent (age, employment, and length of residence in the neighborhood) and neighborhood characteristics (average per capita income, rate of housing violations, and crime rate) were available. Methods of multilevel Poisson regression analysis were employed to identify which of these characteristics were associated with increased risk of experiencing an event with injury-producing potential in the month prior to the interview.

Results: Although all three communities were considered low income, considerable variation in neighborhood characteristics and 1-month prevalence rates of events with injury-producing potential were observed. Younger age of respondent and higher rates of housing violations were associated significantly with increased risk of a child under 5 years old in the household experiencing an event with injury-producing potential.

Conclusions: Information on community characteristics was important to understanding the risks for injuries and could be used to develop community-based prevention interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty*
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*