Stages of development and injury: an epidemiological survey of young children presenting to an emergency department

BMC Public Health. 2008 Apr 14;8:120. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-120.


Background: The aim of our study was to use a local (Glasgow, west of Scotland) version of a Canadian injury surveillance programme (CHIRPP) to investigate the relationship between the developmental stage of young (pre-school) children, using age as a proxy, and the occurrence (incidence, nature, mechanism and location) of injuries presenting to a Scottish hospital emergency department, in an attempt to replicate the findings of a recent study in Kingston, Canada.

Methods: We used the Glasgow CHIRPP data to perform two types of analyses. First, we calculated injury rates for that part of the hospital catchment area for which reasonably accurate population denominators were available. Second, we examined detailed injury patterns, in terms of the circumstances, mechanisms, location and types of injury. We compared our findings with those of the Kingston researchers.

Results: A total of 17,793 injury records for children aged up to 7 years were identified over the period 1997-99. For 1997-2001, 6,188 were used to calculate rates in the west of the city only. Average annual age specific rates per 1000 children were highest in both males and females aged 12-35 months. Apart from the higher rates in Glasgow, the pattern of injuries, in terms of breakdown factors, mechanism, location, context, and nature of injury, were similar in Glasgow and Kingston.

Conclusion: We replicated in Glasgow, UK, the findings of a Canadian study demonstrating a correlation between the pattern of childhood injuries and developmental stage. Future research should take account of the need to enhance statistical power and explore the interaction between age and potential confounding variables such as socio-economic deprivation. Our findings highlight the importance of designing injury prevention interventions that are appropriate for specific stages of development in children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology