Preventing young children’s injuries: Analysis of data from a population-based surveillance
The objective of this study is to determine prevention strategies for potentially serious injury events among children younger than 3 years of age based upon circumstances surrounding injury events. Surveillance was conducted on all injuries to District of Columbia (DC) residents less than 3 years old that resulted in an Emergency Department (ED) visit, hospitalization, or death for 1 year. Data were collected through abstraction of medical records and interviews with a subset of parents of injured children. Investigators coded injury-related events for the potential for death or disability. Potential prevention strategies were then determined for all injury events that had at least a moderate potential for death or disability and sufficient detail for coding (n = 425). Injury-related events included 10 deaths, 163 hospitalizations, and 2,868 ED visits (3,041 events in total). Of the hospitalizations, 88% were coded as moderate or high potential for disability or death, versus only 21% of the coded ED visits. For potentially serious events, environmental change strategies were identified for 47%, behavior change strategies for 77%, and policy change strategies for 24%. For 46% of the events more than one type of prevention strategy was identified. Only 8% had no identifiable prevention strategy. Prevention strategies varied by specific cause of injury. Potential prevention strategies were identifiable for nearly all potentially serious injury events, with multiple potential prevention strategies identified for a large fraction of the events. These findings support developing multifaceted prevention approaches informed by community-based injury surveillance.