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Eur J Public Health. 2005 Feb;15(1):9-14.

A prospective population based study of childhood injuries: the Velestino town study.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Athens University Medical School, Greece. epetrid@med.uoa.gr



Unintentional injuries in childhood constitute a significant public health problem. Our purpose is to estimate the incidence of identifiable unintentional childhood injuries of any type and severity, and to document risk factors of non-transient nature.


We have undertaken a prospective population-based investigation in a Greek town with a population of 748 children (0-14 years old). All identifiable injuries have been monitored during a twelve-month period through information provided by the health care outlets or educational institutions as well as the police station and the regional hospital.


The overall incidence was 28.2 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval from 24.4 to 32.0), whereas the incidence of injuries with Hopkins Injury Severity Score equal to or higher than four was 6.3 with 95% confidence interval 4.5 to 8.1. The incidence of total injuries was higher among boys than among girls (p<0.01) and the gender difference was particularly evident among older children. Almost half of the injuries were due to falls and more than 20% were due to cutting. Children of younger and less educated parents have higher risk for injury and children from families with more injuries were more likely to be injured themselves. There was no evidence that somatometric characteristics were associated with injury risk.


The incidence of unintentional childhood injuries is high and represents a considerable health burden. Family related variables are important risk factors for childhood injuries, whereas somatometric characteristics play a minimal role.


Incidence and risk factors of all injuries in a population-based study among children. About 28 per 100 children got injured over a period of one year. There is evidence that younger paternal age and lower education may be associated with increased injury risk. Family related variables seem to be important risk factors for childhood injuries, whereas somatometric characteristics play minimal role.

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