In this paper we use data from Swedish national registers to study socio-demographic patterns of hospital admissions as a result of injuries sustained at home (poisoning, falls, scalding and ingestion/intrusion of foreign objects) in children 0-3 y. The study population comprised 546 336 children born in Sweden during the period 1987-91. The different injury mechanisms peaked at different ages: ingestion of foreign objects at 10-12 mo, scald injuries at 13-15 mo, non-drug poisoning at 16-18 mo and drug poisoning at 24-30 mo. In a multivariate analysis it was demonstrated that children of young mothers (<24 y) were more likely to have been admitted to hospital because of fall injuries and poisonings, while children with more than two siblings had a slightly increased risk for all injuries. Children of mothers born in a non-western country were more likely to have been admitted to hospital because of scald injuries; odds ratio (OR) 1.7 (95% CI: 1.4-2.1), while they were less likely to have been admitted because of fall injuries; OR 0.8 (0.7-0.8) and non-drug poisoning; OR 0.5 (0.4-0.6). Children in families who received social welfare benefits were more likely to have been admitted to hospital because of fall injuries; OR 1.3 (1.2-1.4), drug poisoning; OR 1.8 (1.7-2.0), non-drug poisoning; OR 1.4 (1.3-15) and scald injuries; OR 1.1 (1.1-1.5), while injuries with ingestion/intrusion of foreign objects tended to vary little with socio-economic indicators.
Conclusion: Infants and toddlers in families with young mothers and in families on social welfare are at particular risk for home injuries in Sweden. The knowledge that the risk of poisoning, scalding and ingestion of foreign objects is related to specific ages can be used in timing of parent counselling.