A cross-sectional study of child injury ambulance call-out characteristics and their utility in surveillance

Background: Injuries are a leading cause of death and ill health in children. Aims: To explore the potential utility of ambulance call-out data in understanding the burden and characteristics of child injury. Methods: A cross-sectional examination was carried out of injury-related ambulance callouts to children aged 0–14 years in the north west of England between April 2016 and March 2017. Findings: The majority of the 16 285 call-outs were for unintentional injuries (91.4%), with falls the most prevalent injury type (38.4%). The incidence of child injury ambulance call-outs peaked at age 1 year (233.4 per 10 000 population). Burns in children aged 5–9 years were significantly higher at weekends (<i>P</i>=0.003) and on celebration days (<i>P</i>=0.001); poisoning in 10–14 year-olds was significantly higher at weekends (<i>P</i>=0.001); and traffic injuries were significantly lower at weekends in 0–4 year-olds (<i>P</i>=0.009) and 10–14 year-olds (<i>P</i>=0.003). Conclusion: Ambulance call-out data can provide epidemiological support in examining the characteristics of child injury and identifying at-risk groups.

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