Unintentional injuries (UI) are a major cause of mortality and morbidity among children, contributing to over 8 75 000 deaths worldwide every year. In India, injury specific mortality rate was 2.9 per 1000 live births contributing to 5.9% of the total mortality in the under five children. This study was designed to estimate the prevalence and understand the risk factors of unintentional injuries in the urban slums of Vellore, South India.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted in eight urban slums of Vellore, Tamil Nadu. Mothers of children aged 1–5 years residing in the area for more than three months were interviewed with a questionnaire after an informed consent. The details of injuries sustained in the past three months were obtained. An indigenously developed environmental hazard observation form was used to assess the risk of injuries in places the children frequently visit. Logistic and Poisson regression analysis were used to assess significant risk factors for experiencing injuries and repeated injuries respectively.
Prevalence of unintentional injuries in children between 1–5 years during the three months recall period was 39.1% (95% CI 35.4%–42.9%). Children of working mothers had a higher risk of injury compared to children of stay-at-home mothers (OR 1.48, 95% CI (1.01–2.18). Children from overcrowded family were at higher risk of injury (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.14–2.41). Boys had a higher risk of multiple injuries compared to girls (RR 1.335, 95% CI 1.07–1.66). Children with environmental hazard score greater than 66th percentile were more prone to have an injury and a severe injury (RR=0.39 95% CI 0.31–0.48).
Prevalence of unintentional injuries in children between 1–5 years was high in the study population. Overcrowding, working mothers and high environmental hazard score were significant risk factors. The environmental hazard score can be further validated and used as a tool.
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