Motor vehicle occupant injuries in New Zealand children, 1981-90

N Z Med J. 1994 Nov 23;107(990):475-7.


Aim: To determine the incidence of motor vehicle occupant injuries in New Zealand children and to consider future directions for prevention.

Methods: The Ministry of Health's national mortality and morbidity files for the years 1981-1990 were examined to identify all deaths and hospital discharges for motor vehicle occupant injuries in children between the ages of 0-14 years.

Results: Over the 10 year period, there was an average of 26 deaths and 433 hospitalisations annually. Fatality rates were highest for the age group 0-2 years, whereas hospitalisation rates were highest for those aged 3-4 years. Although mortality rates were similar for Maori and nonMaori children, the hospitalisation rate for Maori children was more than three times that for nonMaori children. No significant trends in either fatality or hospitalisation rates were evident.

Discussion: Motor vehicle occupant injury is an important public health problem in New Zealand children. Reductions in the numbers of motor vehicle occupant deaths and hospitalisations will require not only legislative changes aimed at increasing restraint use, but also the development of strategies to ensure compliance with the legislation. The identification of barriers to the use of child restraints is likely to facilitate the development of effective strategies aimed at increasing occupant restraint use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / ethnology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control