Childhood injuries in the European Union: can epidemiology contribute to their control?

Acta Paediatr. 2000 Oct;89(10):1244-9. doi: 10.1080/080352500750027646.


An average of 6000 children (0-14-y-old) died every year from injuries in the European Union during the last decade. Although the trends are overall favorable, injuries continue to represent the leading cause of death in this age group. The aim of this paper is to present childhood-injury-related public health issues and consider possible remedies of contemporary epidemiologic methods as applied to injury epidemiology and prevention. It has been estimated that half of the lives lost to childhood injuries could have been saved if all European Union countries matched the accomplishments of the country with the lowest mortality rate in each injury category. There is no specific pattern of association between Gross Domestic Product and incidence of motor-vehicle accidents by category of road user, whereas fatality from motor-vehicle accidents seems to be inversely, strongly and significantly related to Gross Domestic Product.

Conclusion: The ongoing development of large injury databases in the European Union is a prerequisite for understanding the complex interactions that lead to a childhood injury. Moreover, possible remedies for overcoming the genuine problems associated with the application of traditional epidemiologic methods to the investigation of the frequently transient in nature causes of injuries should be considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention*
  • Accidents / mortality
  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • European Union
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mortality / trends
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality