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Acta Paediatr. 2013 Mar;102(3):287-93. doi: 10.1111/apa.12106. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Preterm birth and unintentional injuries: risks to children, adolescents and young adults show no consistent pattern.

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Center for Primary Health Care Research, Department of Clinical Science, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.



Preterm birth is associated with a number of physical and mental health issues. The aim of this study was to find out whether there was also any association between individuals born preterm in Sweden between 1984 and 2006 and the risk of unintentional injuries during childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.


The study followed 2 297 134 individuals, including 5.9% born preterm, from 1985 to 2007 for unintentional injuries leading to hospitalization or death (n = 244 021). The males and females were divided into four age groups: 1-5 years, 6-12 years, 13-18 years and 19-23 years. Hazard ratios were calculated for falls, transport injuries and other injuries.


After adjusting for a comprehensive set of covariates, some of the preterm subgroups demonstrated slightly increased risks of unintentional injuries, while others showed slightly decreased risks. However, most of the estimates were borderline or non-significant in both males and females. In addition, the absolute risk differences between individuals born preterm and full term were small.


Despite the association between preterm birth and a variety of physical and mental health consequences, this study shows that there is no consistent risk pattern between preterm birth and unintentional injuries in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.

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