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New report on injury inequalities

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Children from poor families are five times more likely to die from unintentional injuries, a new report from England’s Health Development Agency highlights. The alarming fact that children from the poorest families are five times more likely to be killed as a result of unintentional injuries than those from the most affluent is one of the most stark and damning statistics to be highlighted by the report. Children from poorer families are also 16 times more likely to die in a house fire and 5 times more likely to die as a pedestrian. Research shows that the poorest children are more likely to suffer injuries that require hospital admission and when they are admitted their injuries are likely to be more serious than those experienced by children from affluent families. The report, Injuries in children aged 0–14 years and inequalities, looks at the variations in place, social, economic, and cultural factors, and how they affect the rate, severity, and nature of unintentional injuries that occur. The report, by Professor Elizabeth Towner, highlights many of the inequalities, points out the lack of appropriate interventions, and suggests how best these differences might be evened out and how threats posed to children might be minimised. The good news is that the number of unintentional injury deaths has been declining steadily. In England and Wales in 1979, almost 1100 children died as a result of unintentional injury, compared with 261 in 2002. The report can be accessed via http://www.hda.nhs.uk/documents/injuries_in_children_inequalities.pdf. The report was prepared by the Health Development Agency Evidence and Guidance Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Accidental Injuries—a consortium of organisations headed by Elizabeth Towner, Professor of Child Health at the University of the West of England. The other parts of the consortium are the University of Newcastle and the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

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