Background India is motorising rapidly. With increasing motorisation, road traffic injuries are predicted to increase. A third of a billion children travel to school every day in India, but little is known about children's safety during the school commute. We investigated road traffic injury to children during school journeys.
Methods We conducted a cross-sectional survey in Hyderabad using a two-stage stratified cluster sampling design. We used school travel questionnaires to record any road injury in the past 12 months that resulted in at least 1 day of school missed or required treatment by a doctor or nurse. We estimated the prevalence of road injury by usual mode of travel and distance to school.
Results The total sample was 5842 children, of whom 5789 (99.1%) children answered the question on road injury. The overall prevalence of self-reported road injury in the last 12 months during school journeys was 17% (95% CI 12.9% to 21.7%). A higher proportion of boys (25%) reported a road injury than girls (11%). There was a strong association between road injury, travel mode and distance to school. Children who cycled to school were more likely to be injured compared with children who walked (OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.0). Travel by school bus was safer than walking (OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.3 to 0.9).
Conclusions A sixth of the children reported a road traffic injury in the past 12 months during school journeys in Hyderabad. Injury prevention interventions should focus on making walking and cycling safer for children.
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