Background Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death among children and young adults. Over 875 000 children ≤18 years of age die annually in the world as a result of injuries, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.
Objective To study the demographics, types and outcome of childhood unintentional injuries in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods This surveillance was conducted from February to April 2007 in emergency departments (ED) of five major hospitals of Karachi. Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan and has a population of about 9.3 million of which 43.8% are children. Care-takers of children less than 12 years of age were interviewed regarding unintentional childhood injuries.
Results This surveillance included 566 children out of which 67.7% were males and 60.2% were between the ages of 5–11 years. Most of the children were brought to the ED by private transport (56.9%). Injuries commonly occurred at home (48.1%) and during recreation time (45.4%). Fall (49.5%) and road traffic injuries (RTIs) (20.8%) were the commonest mechanisms of injury. Falls occurred most often from stairs/steps. Of the RTIs, 13.4% were pedestrian injuries and 11.5% were due to motorcycles. Majority of the children (79.3%) were directly discharged from the ED with short term disability (44%). There were three deaths, of which two resulted from RTIs and one from fall.
Conclusion Our surveillance showed that male children were frequently injured. The frequent mechanism of injury was fall followed by road traffic injury. Most of the children were directly discharged from the ED.
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