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Road Traffic Injuries in Children: findings from WA’s Childhood Injury Surveillance System.
Introduction: Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children aged between one and fourteen years in Australia. While recent trends show that child road death is decreasing, the numbers of injuries from road traffic accidents are not.
Methods: The Western Australian Childhood Injury Surveillance System collects data from cases presenting to the Emergency Department of Western Australia’s Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.
Kidsafe WA analyses data collected through the ISS and produces quarterly information bulletins for dissemination to key injury prevention stakeholders. Road Traffic injury presentations between January 2000 and December 2007 were analysed and the findings presented in the January 2008 bulletin.
Results: During the eight year period 1,580 presentations were made to PMH ED by children suffering a road traffic injury. Of these, 5 were announced dead on arrival or died while in the ED. Males were 1.3 times more likely to sustain a road traffic injury, and while there was no notable difference in presentations between days of the week, most injuries occurred 4.00-5.59pm.
The majority (70%) of injuries were sustained in Motor Vehicle Accidents. However, few MVAs resulted in serious injuries. Pedestrians, bicyclists and wheeled pedestrians were at greater risk of injuries requiring hospital admission.
Conclusions: Safety equipment usage has a significant impact on the occurrence and severity of road traffic injuries. The lack of suitable safety equipment, especially by bicyclists and wheeled pedestrians, is of great concern. Increased use of safety equipment, coupled with supervision and child education would have a positive effect on child road safety.