OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to describe and compare the distribution of injury deaths among rural and urban Colorado children that occurred between 1980-8. METHOD: Death certificates coded E800-E969 were obtained for children who were 0-14 years of age at death between 1980-8 and who were Colorado residents. Average annual rates were computed for rural and urban children, separately by gender. The 1980 census was used to compute rates. Rate ratios were calculated to summarize information related to specific external causes of deaths, contrasting rural and urban children. These differences were evaluated using Z tests. RESULTS: Statistically significant elevated risks were found along rural children for motor vehicle injury deaths. Firearms were involved more often in rural deaths among unintentional injury deaths of children older than 4 years of age, and among homicide related deaths of children 5 years and younger. All rural children who committed suicide used a firearm. CONCLUSIONS: Comparisons between rural and urban injury deaths provide important information that can be used to guide prevention strategies. For example, in Colorado, a child restraint law, passed in 1984, covered children under 4 years of age or under 40 pounds. It was not until 1995, however, that legislation was passed requiring restraint of children 5-16 years of age. Traditionally, rural residents are slower to accept new ideas and to alter current practices than urban residents.
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