Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Injuries in child care centers: gender-environment interactions
  1. Abbey Alkon1,
  2. David R Ragland2,
  3. Jeanne M Tschann3,
  4. Janice L Genevro4,
  5. Pamela Kaiser5,
  6. W Thomas Boyce6
  1. 1University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing, Department of Family Health Care Nursing, Room N411-Y Box 0606, San Francisco, CA 94143–0606, USA
  2. 2University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Berkeley, California
  3. 3University of California, San Francisco, California
  4. 4Center for the Advancement of Health, Washington, DC
  5. 5Menlo Park, California
  6. 6University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, Division of Health and Medical Sciences, Berkeley, California
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Alkon
 (email: abbeyalk{at}


Objectives—To examine child characteristics (age, gender) and child care center environments (socioemotional quality, physical safety) that jointly predict injuries for preschool children.

Methods—A two year prospective study of 360 preschool children, ages 2–6 years, was conducted in four urban child care centers. Composite scores for center quality and physical safety were derived from on-site observations, and injury rates were based on teacher reports. Poisson regression analyses examined age, gender, center quality, center safety, and the interactions of gender with quality and safety as predictors of injury incidence over one child year.

Results—Age was significantly associated with injury rates, with younger children sustaining higher rates. An interaction between gender and center quality also significantly predicted injury incidence: girls in low quality centers experienced more injuries, while girls in high quality centers sustained fewer injuries than their male peers. Finally, an interaction between gender and center safety showed that girls in high safety centers sustained more injuries than boys, while girls in low safety centers sustained fewer injuries.

Conclusions—Injuries occur even in relatively safe environments, suggesting that in child care settings, the socioemotional context may contribute, along with physical safety, to the incidence of injury events. Further, gender specific differences in susceptibility to environmental influences may also affect children's vulnerability and risks of injuries. The prevention of injuries among preschool children may thus require attention to and modifications of both the physical and socioemotional environments of child care.

  • gender
  • environment
  • child care centers

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.