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Open Access Research article

Understanding unintentional childhood home injuries: pilot surveillance data from Karachi, Pakistan

Nukhba Zia1, Uzma R Khan1, Junaid A Razzak1*, Prasanthi Puvanachandra2 and Adnan A Hyder2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Department of International Health & International Injury Research Unit, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:37  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-37

Published: 19 January 2012

Abstract

Background

Childhood injuries, an important public health issue, globally affects more than 95% of children living in low-and middle-income countries. The objective of this study is to describe the epidemiology of childhood unintentional injuries in Karachi, Pakistan with a specific focus on those occurring within the home environment.

Methods

This was a secondary analysis of a childhood unintentional injury surveillance database setup in the emergency department of the Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan for 3 months. The data was collected by interviewing caretakers of children under 12 years of age presenting with an unintentional injury to the emergency departments of the four major tertiary care hospitals of Karachi, Pakistan.

Results

The surveillance included 566 injured children of which 409 (72%) injuries had taken place at/around home. Of 409 children, 66% were males and mostly between 5 and 11 years of age. Injuries commonly occurred during play time (51%). Fall (59%), dog bites (11%) and burns (9%) were the commonest mechanisms of injury. The majority of the children (78%) were directly discharged from the emergency room with predicted short term disability (42%). There were 2 deaths in the emergency department both due to falls.

Conclusion

Childhood injury surveillance system provides valuable in-depth information on child injuries. The majority of these unintentional childhood injuries occur at home; with falls, dog bites and burns being the most common types of unintentional childhood home injuries. Specific surveillance systems for child injuries can provide new and valuable information for countries like Pakistan.

Keywords:
Child injuries; Unintentional injuries; Child health; Pakistan