Background While family size and sibling supervision have both been shown to influence child injury risk, the role of sibling relationship quality in child injury has not been investigated. Our goal was to investigate potential linkages between child injuries and the quality of sibling relationships.
Methods Seventy-nine families with two school-aged children aged seven and ten years on average were recruited from the community; 54% were female. Children reported on the quality of their sibling relationships and parents reported on the frequency of minor child injuries within the past three months, as well as their supervision attitudes.
Results Younger siblings in antagonistic relationships characterized by high hostility and low warmth incurred significantly more minor injuries; this was especially the case when age spacing between siblings was larger. Higher parental confidence in younger siblings was significantly related to fewer minor injuries for older, but not younger siblings.
Conclusions Sibling relationship quality played a significant role in injury risk for school-aged children, particularly when sibling age spacing was larger. Therefore, the quality of sibling relationships should be taken into account in future research, as well as in home injury prevention programs. Parental confidence in younger siblings was linked to fewer older sibling injuries, underlining the importance of understanding the interconnected nature of family dynamics on child injury.
Learning Outcomes Antagonistic sibling relationships were significantly associated with more minor injuries for younger siblings, especially when sibling age spacing was larger. Parental confidence in younger siblings was related to fewer older sibling minor injuries.
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