Introduction: Paediatric injury is a major global public health challenge. Epidemiological research is required for effective primary injury prevention and to develop trauma systems for optimal management of childhood injuries. This study aimed to describe the characteristics and geographical distribution of paediatric trauma deaths and to assess the relationship between rural locations and mortality rates.
Materials and methods: By accessing national registries, all trauma related deaths of persons aged 0-15 years in Norway from 1998 to 2007 were included. Paediatric trauma mortality rates and injury characteristic were analysed in relation to three different measures of municipal rurality: centrality, population density and settlement density.
Results: There were 462 trauma related deaths during the study period and the national annual paediatric mortality rate was 4.81/100000. Rural areas had higher mortality rates, and this difference was best predicted by municipal centrality. Rural trauma was characterised by traffic accidents and deaths that occurred prior to reaching hospital. The rural and northernmost county, Finnmark, had a mortality rate three times the national average.
Conclusion: Mortality rates after childhood injury are high in rural areas. Substantiated measures of rurality are required for optimal allocation of primary and secondary preventive measures.
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