Road injuries in school age children: relation to environmental factors amenable to interventions
- Institute for Social Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germany
- Correspondence to: Professor Rüdiger von Kries, Institute for Social Pediatrics, LMU, Heiglhofstr 63, 81377 München, Germany(e-mail: .)
Objectives—To assess the impact of potentially modifiable environmental factors on the risk for pedestrian and cyclist injuries among school age children.
Setting—Population of school age children in Düsseldorf (population 570 000) in the west of Germany. All pedestrian and cyclist injuries involving children between 6 and 14 years brought to the attention of the police between January 1993 and March 1995 were eligible.
Methods—A case-control design was used, with controls matched by age and sex. Criteria for inclusion of cases were: residence in Düsseldorf, and injury within 500 meters from home. A random sample of 174 cases was selected. For each an age-sex matched child, resident in Düsseldorf, was randomly selected from a list of all school age children. The environment within a radius of 500 meters around the homes of cases and controls was analysed by blinded on site investigators. These used a standardized questionnaire to assess the number of streets with speed limits of 30 kph, the number of pedestrian crossings with traffic lights per street with speed limits of 50 kph or above, and the number of playgrounds for children.
Results—Complete information was available for 170 cases and 168 controls. There were significantly more streets with a speed limit of 30 kph around the homes of controls (p=0.0003; mean 9.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) 8.8 to 10.1) than cases (mean 7.8; 95% CI 7.3 to 8.3). For every five streets with a speed limit of 30 kph injury risk was reduced by nearly 50% (odds ratio 0.57; 95% CI 0.43 to 0.76). There were also significantly more pedestrian crossings with traffic lights on streets with a speed limit 50 kph or above around the homes of controls (p=0.0004; mean 2.7; 95% CI 2.4 to 2.9) compared with cases (mean 2.1; 95% CI 1.9 to 2.3). Finally there were significantly more playgrounds around the houses of controls (p=0.04; mean 1.9; 95% CI 1.7 to 2.2) compared with the houses of cases (mean 1.7; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.0).
Conclusions—Significant associations with injury risk were identified for some prespecified modifiable environmental factors.