The severity of injuries from home accidents was assessed in 402 children under the age of 5 treated in the accident department of an inner London hospital. Our child injury severity scale comprises three grades of severity for six types of injury. There was moderate agreement between the observer and an assessor in categorising the cases. Burns and scalds and poisoning caused more severe injuries than other accidents. A strong correlation was found between the parent's social class and the severity of the accident, but there was no correlation with ethnic group as indicated by the parents' country of birth. The development of a reliable scale of severity is important if programmes of prevention of accidents to children in the home are to be evaluated successfully.
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