Deaths due to household injuries among children under 12 years of age: Injury type and family characteristics

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Arslan M. N., Esen Melez İ. E.

Adli Tıp Dergisi, vol.32, no.3, pp.115-125, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/adlitip.2018.90236
  • Journal Name: Adli Tıp Dergisi
  • Page Numbers: pp.115-125
  • Bezmialem Vakıf University Affiliated: Yes



INTRODUCTION: Accidental deaths are important subjects of Forensic Medicine and Preventive Medicine that are preventable / reducible causes of death with taking necessary measures. Especially babies, newly acquiring moving abilities and toddlers have accidents in their houses where they are supposed to be safe. In the literature most encountered injury types of household accidents are due to falls from height, scalds, burns and intoxications. Aim of this study is to determine effects of socio-demographic characteristics of families, parental education degrees and family structure on frequencies and types of childhood domestic accidents.

METHODS: Study designed as a prostective study. Case group include the pediatric autopsy cases, under 12 years old, of Istanbul Morgue Department of Council of Forensic Medicine. With death scene and autopsy findings; family structure and educational status information that taken from the relatives were evaluated.

RESULTS: Incident types evaluated in two main groups: Own action of child (OAC) and Independent from child’s action (IfCA). In OAC group mean age of mothers were 28.82 ± 5.68 years (range 15 to 43), fathers mean age was found 33.26 ± 5.65 years (range 22 to 44). In one year period 53 child death cases including 31 boys and 22 girls with a mean age of 4.32 ± 2.95 were referred to determine the cause of death after a household accident. Falls from height (n=20, 37.7% in all groups and 58.8% in OAC group) was the most common accident type in OAC group. Falls from heights were common in spring and summer seasons. There was no significant relationship between sex of child and accident type. But there was a statistically significant relationship between low parental education degree and accident type. In the low educated parent group falls from heights were more frequent than other groups. Ages of children were found significantly higher in the group whose mothers were employed and there was no relationship between mother employment and accident type.

CONCLUSION: These findings showed us that opened windows or balcony doors in warm weather were important risk factors for childhood accidental injuries. Low child age was found as a risk factor for falls from heights. In early childhood motor immaturity with imbalanced motor activities, were thought to be the most important factor on this finding. As a conclusion educating families about childcare and about measures should be taken to avoid accidents, was thought to be the most important factor on decreasing childhood accidental injuries. First step of preventing accidental childhood injuries is increasing the awareness of parents about dangers in the household environment.