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Stat Methods Med Res. 2016 Aug;25(4):1244-59. doi: 10.1177/0962280213476167. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Comparing models for quantitative risk assessment: an application to the European Registry of foreign body injuries in children.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torino, Italy.
  • 2Department of Statistics and Applied Mathematics "Diego de Castro", University of Torino, Italy.
  • 3Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova, Italy


Risk Assessment is the systematic study of decisions subject to uncertain consequences. An increasing interest has been focused on modeling techniques like Bayesian Networks since their capability of (1) combining in the probabilistic framework different type of evidence including both expert judgments and objective data; (2) overturning previous beliefs in the light of the new information being received and (3) making predictions even with incomplete data. In this work, we proposed a comparison among Bayesian Networks and other classical Quantitative Risk Assessment techniques such as Neural Networks, Classification Trees, Random Forests and Logistic Regression models. Hybrid approaches, combining both Classification Trees and Bayesian Networks, were also considered. Among Bayesian Networks, a clear distinction between purely data-driven approach and combination of expert knowledge with objective data is made. The aim of this paper consists in evaluating among this models which best can be applied, in the framework of Quantitative Risk Assessment, to assess the safety of children who are exposed to the risk of inhalation/insertion/aspiration of consumer products. The issue of preventing injuries in children is of paramount importance, in particular where product design is involved: quantifying the risk associated to product characteristics can be of great usefulness in addressing the product safety design regulation. Data of the European Registry of Foreign Bodies Injuries formed the starting evidence for risk assessment. Results showed that Bayesian Networks appeared to have both the ease of interpretability and accuracy in making prediction, even if simpler models like logistic regression still performed well.


Bayesian Network; children; classification trees; foreign body injuries; quantitative risk assessment

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