OBJECTIVE: To determine the common types of injuries among children (0-14 years) in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE). DESIGN: A retrospective descriptive hospital based study. SETTING: Al-Ain Medical District, Al-Ain Teaching Hospital, UAE. SUBJECTS: All patients aged 0-14 years seen at Al-Ain Teaching Hospital for injuries during 1994. RESULTS: The number of children with an injury who attended the emergency room was 16,518 (69.9% boys; 30.1% girls). Injury rates were higher among non-UAE nationals. The most frequent reason for hospital admission was poisoning (41%). In the age group < 5 years, the most common causes were falls, blunt trauma, and burns or scalds, while in the 5-9 year and in 10-14 year groups the most frequent cause was road traffic accidents (RTAs). Fights and sporting injuries were also seen frequently in children aged 10-14 years. CONCLUSION: Injury rates were higher in boys and RTAs mostly occurred in children over 10 years. The majority of cases (56%) occurred among non-UAE nationals, who are usually of lower socio-economic status. RECOMMENDATION: Injuries can be prevented by developing strategies to substantially increase the profile of health education to parents and children, by educating policy makers and health professionals, and by environmental modification, legislation, and enforcement. The UAE government can play an important part by establishing and supporting injury prevention programs with these goals.
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