Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Stages of development and injury patterns in the early years: a population-based analysis

Michael P Flavin1*, Suzanne M Dostaler23, Kelly Simpson23, Robert J Brison23 and William Pickett23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatrics, Queen's University, Doran 3, Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 2V7, Canada

2 Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Abramsky Hall, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

3 Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen's University, Empire 3, Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 2V7, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2006, 6:187  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-187

Published: 18 July 2006

Abstract

Background

In Canada, there are many formal public health programs under development that aim to prevent injuries in the early years (e.g. 0–6). There are paradoxically no population-based studies that have examined patterns of injury by developmental stage among these young children. This represents a gap in the Canadian biomedical literature. The current population-based analysis explores external causes and consequences of injuries experienced by young children who present to the emergency department for assessment and treatment. This provides objective evidence about prevention priorities to be considered in anticipatory counseling and public health planning.

Methods

Four complete years of data (1999–2002; n = 5876 cases) were reviewed from the Kingston sites of the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), an ongoing injury surveillance initiative. Epidemiological analyses were used to characterize injury patterns within and across age groups (0–6 years) that corresponded to normative developmental stages.

Results

The average annual rate of emergency department-attended childhood injury was 107 per 1000 (95% CI 91–123), with boys experiencing higher annual rates of injury than girls (122 vs. 91 per 1000; p < 0.05). External causes of injury changed substantially by developmental stage. This lead to the identification of four prevention priorities surrounding 1) the optimization of supervision; 2) limiting access to hazards; 3) protection from heights; and 4) anticipation of risks.

Conclusion

This population-based injury surveillance analysis provides a strong evidence-base to inform and enhance anticipatory counseling and other public health efforts aimed at the prevention of childhood injury during the early years.