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Mahboob A, Richmond SA, Harkins JP, Macpherson AK. Paediatr. Child Health (1996) 2021; 26(1): e39-e45.


(Copyright © 2021, Canadian Paediatric Society, Publisher Pulsus Group)






INTRODUCTION: Unintentional injuries represent a substantial public health burden among children and adolescents, and previous evidence suggests that there are disparities in injury by socioeconomic status (SES). This paper reports on a systematic review of literature on injury rates among children and adolescents by measures of SES.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted using six electronic databases: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, HealthSTAR, EMBASE, and SportsDiscus. This review considered children ages 19 years and under and publications between 1997 and 2017-representing an update since the last systematic review examined this specific question. Fifty-four articles were summarized based on study and participant descriptions, outcome and exposure, statistical tests used, effect estimates, and overall significance.

RESULTS: Most articles addressed risk factors across all injury mechanisms; however, some focused particularly on burns/scalds, road traffic injuries, falls/drowning cases, and playground/sports injuries. Other studies reported on specific injury types including traumatic dental injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and fractures. The studies were of moderate quality, with a median of 15.5 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 15.34 to 15.66) out of 19. Thirty-two studies found an inverse association between SES and childhood unintentional injury, three found a positive association while twenty were not significant or failed to report effect measures.

CONCLUSION: Given the variability in definition of the exposure (SES) and outcome (injury), the results of this review were mixed; however, the majority of studies supported a relationship between low SES and increased injury risk. Public health practice must consider SES, and other measures of health equity, in childhood injury prevention programming, and policy.

Language: en


Socioeconomic status; Childhood injury; Childhood unintentional injury; Education level; Family income


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