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Accidents and resulting injuries in premobile infants: data from the ALSPAC study


BACKGROUND AND AIMS Little is known about injuries resulting from accidents in premobile infants. We aimed to describe the pattern of minor accidents in infants and their resulting injuries.

METHODS The ALSPAC study collected data in successive postal questionnaires. At 6 months of age, parents were asked to describe any accident since birth. The type of fall, distance fallen, resulting injury, and help sought were independently coded. Burns were similarly coded.

RESULTS A total of 11 466 responses were available. In 2554 children, 3357 falls were reported; 53% fell from beds or settees and 12% fell from arms or while being carried. Only 14% reported visible injury, of which 56% were bruises; 97% of injuries specified involved the head. Only 21 falls (<1%) resulted in concussion or fracture. A burn or scald occurred in 172 cases (1.5%). The main causes of scalds were hot drinks and water, with contact burns caused by radiators, cookers, and hot food.

CONCLUSIONS Falls in young infants are common while burns are rare. Injuries from falls are infrequent, predominantly trivial, and almost entirely confined to the head. Falls from beds and settees did not result in skull fractures. Serious injury was the result of complex accidents.

  • accident
  • burn
  • fall
  • injury

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