Intentional injuries in young Ohio children: is there urban/rural variation?

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Sep;77(3 Suppl 1):S36-40. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000321.


Background: Intentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in children 1 year to 4 years of age. The epidemiology of these injuries based on urban/rural geography and economic variables has not been clearly established. The study purposes are (1) to determine the rate of severe intentional injuries in children younger than 5 years in urban versus rural Ohio counties and (2) to determine if poverty within counties is associated with intentional injury rate.

Methods: Demographic and injury data on children younger than 5 years who experienced intentional injuries, from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2011, were extracted retrospectively from the Ohio Trauma Acute Care Registry. We calculated injury rates using the county of residence and US census data. We assigned each county to an urbanization level based on population density (A, most urban; D, most rural). Mean income and percentage of families with children younger than 5 years living below poverty in Ohio counties were obtained from the US census. Rates are per 100,000 children younger than 5 years per year.

Results: A total of 984 patients were included; the overall injury rate was 15.9. The mean age was 0.66 years (SD, 1.02 years); 583 (59.2%) were male and 655 (66.6%) were white. One hundred twenty-nine (13.1%) died. Injury rates by urbanization level were as follows: A, 16.5; B, 10.7; C, 18.7; and D, 15.2 (p = 0.285). There were significant associations between county injury rate and mean income (p = 0.05) and percentage of families with children younger than 5 years living below poverty (p = 0.04).

Conclusion: We found no association between intentional injury rate and urbanization level in young Ohio children. However, we did find an association between county mean income and percentage of families living below poverty, with intentional injury rate suggesting that financial hardship may be an important risk factor of these injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Child Abuse / economics
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Poverty
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*