An ecological study of the locations of schools and child pedestrian injury collisions

Accid Anal Prev. 2004 Jul;36(4):569-76. doi: 10.1016/S0001-4575(03)00063-0.


Geographic studies of the incidence and prevalence of child pedestrian injury collisions in different community environments have been primarily descriptive and idiosyncratic, reflecting one or another likely determinant of the places where these injuries occur. The current study maintains that multiple determinants of child pedestrian injury collisions must be considered in evaluating the unique contributions of any one community feature to injury rates. These features include local characteristics of populations, such as rates of unemployment, and places, such as locations of schools. Schools are one stable geographic feature associated with regular, often concentrated periods of complex and congested traffic patterns. The objective of the present study was to examine annual rates of child pedestrian injury in four California communities with a focus on the unique contribution of schools to injury risk. We predicted that annual numbers of child pedestrian injury collisions (both in-school and summer combined) would be greater in communities with higher youth population densities, more unemployment, fewer high-income households, and higher traffic flow. It was hypothesized that youth population density and its interaction with the number of schools in a given area would be related to greater rates of child pedestrian collisions during in-school months. An ecological approach was taken that divided the four communities into 102 geographic units with an average of 6321 people residing in each unit. Archival data on traffic flow, number of child pedestrian injury collisions and locations of schools were obtained from state agencies. Individual-level data were obtained from a general population survey conducted in the communities. The results showed that annual numbers of injuries were greater in areas with higher youth population densities, more unemployment, fewer high-income households, and greater traffic flow. Annual numbers of injuries during in-school months were greater in areas containing middle schools and greater population densities of youth.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Schools
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Topography, Medical
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*