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Niger J Med. 2004 Apr-Jun;13(2):140-3.

Paediatric accidental deaths in Port Harcourt, Nigeria: a 10-year retrospective study.

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Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.



Some studies on medicolegal autopsies have been conducted in Nigeria. This study was carried out to highlight the causes, peculiarities and possible factors responsible for paediatric accidental deaths in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.


All 3058 medicolegal autopsies referred to the coroner and performed in the department of Anatomical Pathology University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, over a 10 year period covering January 1986 to December 1995 were analyzed. The accidental death subset was specially analyzed with respect to the paediatric age group of 0-16 years.


A total of 3084 coroners autopsies were carried out during the study period. Of these 356 (11.5%) were paediatric accidental deaths. The commonest cause of death was road traffic accidents constituting 84.3% (n=300). The male:female ratio was about the same. The head was the commonest body region affected (n=90). Cars and buses were the commonest vehicles involved. Pedestrians were most at risk constituting 66 percent. Bulk of the cases occurred over the weekends. Drowning, electrocution and burns accounted for 8.7%, 2.8% and 4.2% respectively.


Most of the deaths are avoidable. Parental monitoring, control of movements, legislation and general concern of the adult population for children's welfare will reduce these largely preventable deaths.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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