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Understanding a community’s needs for an emergency department-based childhood injury prevention programme: a mixed-methods study


Objective Unintentional injuries are the most common cause of childhood death in the USA and are preventable. We developed a framework for an injury prevention programme using local injury data and understanding stakeholder perspectives.

Methods We used a mixed-methods approach. We performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of children presenting to an academic hospital system between January 2019 and December 2020 with an injury-related diagnosis. The primary outcome was encounters with an injury-related ICD-10 code. We conducted a thematic analysis by interviewing caregivers and emergency department (ED) providers.

Results There were 10 193 unique injury-related encounters. Most common injuries were natural/environmental (22.9%), falls (20.0%) and striking an object (5.1%). Highest rates of injury were seen in children who identified as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (154 injuries per 10 000 children per year), followed by Hispanic or Latino (148). Three out of 20 zip code areas represented 43.4% of all injuries and correlated with lower household income. Twenty-five caregivers and eight ED providers participated in interviews that resulted in four major themes: perceptions of injury risk, caregiver receipt of injury prevention information, barriers and provider counselling.

Conclusion Clear differences exist within the injury burden in San Francisco by demographics, geography and type of injury. The findings from the study will guide the first steps in designing a strategic paediatric injury prevention centre. The methods may guide future investigations into the dynamic needs of clinicians and caregivers regarding injury. A strategic programme focused on the community’s unique needs and barriers may effectively reduce injury rates.

  • Behavior Change
  • Education
  • Health Disparities
  • Child
  • Mixed methods

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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