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Accidents among children under two years of age in Great Britain
  1. G Rowntree

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The object of this paper is to discuss the incidence and cause of accidents among young children. The material on which the study was based was collected in the course of a national questionnaire inquiry into the health and development of children born in Great Britain in the week 3–9 March 1946. Full information was obtained in this inquiry from 91% of the mothers of those children who had survived the first 2 years of life. It is hoped that similar studies of the same sample will be undertaken at regular intervals as the children grow older so that a complete picture can be obtained of the incidence and effects of accidents throughout childhood.

Few studies have been made of the incidence of accidents among the total population of young children. The Registrar General's figures cover fatal accidents only, and the various national sample surveys do not deal with the problem fully. For example, the American National Health Survey among the urban population in 1935–36 omitted accidents which caused less than 7 days' disablement (Britten, Klebba and Hailman, 1940), and the current monthly surveys of sickness in Britain, carried out by the Social Survey for the Ministry of Health, do not include the child population (Stocks, 1949).

Most of the previous studies of the social aspects of accidents have been confined to investigating the home environment of children treated for injuries in the departments of individual hospitals (Donald, 1930; Dunbar, 1934). These studies have shown that in spite of the general decrease in serious and fatal accidents (fatal accidental burns among the civilian population in England and Wales occurred at the rate of 30 per million in 1938 and only 20 per million in 1947), a relatively high proportion of certain types of accident continue to occur among …

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  • This is the 15th paper in a series of Injury Classics. Our goal is to reprint one or two such papers in each issue to introduce newcomers to these old, often quoted, and important contributions. As many are difficult to find, it should help all of us to have a copy at hand. Your suggestions about future articles are welcome. Write to the editor with details of your favourite, most quoted paper.

  • Some findings of a national questionnaire inquiry carried out by a Joint Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Population Investigation Committee and the Institute of Child Health (University of London) with the aid of a grant from the Nuffield Foundation.

  • This paper first appeared in the OpenUrl) and is reproduced with the permission of Cambridge University Press.

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