Background: Child injury mortality and morbidity are a public health concern in European countries and data are scarce. Cross-national efforts are needed to identify high-risk groups, follow trends and assist in establishing European-wide safety legislation. This study investigates fatal child injuries in the home, as compared to those in transport in European countries.
Methods: Injury mortality was extracted from the World Health Organization Mortality Database for the years 2002-04. The mortality rate per 100 000 population was calculated by age group for 16 contributing countries, grouped by their economic level of development.
Results: Fatal home injuries were highest in children under 5 years of age and then sharply decreased, as opposed to road traffic injuries, which increased with age. The majority of the upper-middle-economy countries tended to have higher home injury incidence rates compared to the high-income countries. The top five injury causes all countries aggregated were drowning/submersion, thermal injuries, poisoning, falls and homicide, all of which account for almost 90% of home injury deaths.
Conclusion: Home injuries were the leading cause of injury death in children under 5 years of age in the countries under study and the inequalities found among the countries indicate potential for improvement. Evidence-based interventions exist to prevent these injuries and the barriers to their implementation ought to be determined and addressed.