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The silent epidemic of falls from buildings: analysis of risk factors


Mayer, Lena; Meuli, Martin; Lips, Ulrich; Frey, Bernhard (2006). The silent epidemic of falls from buildings: analysis of risk factors. Pediatric Surgery International, 22(9):743-748.

Abstract

This study wanted to search for potential risk factors associated with falls from windows and balconies in order to eventually improve prevention. All children under the age of 16years suffering from head injuries/multiple trauma due to falls from windows or balconies treated over the last 7years at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the University Children's Hospital Zürich were analysed retrospectively (group A). Fifty patients out of all children suffering from head injuries/multiple trauma due to other types of accidents in the same period were selected at random as controls (group B). Out of a total of 241 children with head injury and/or multiple trauma, 31 (13%) fell out of a building. Twenty-seven of these victims (87%) fell from the third floor or lower. Twenty-one of the falls (68%) occurred at home. Fifteen children (49%) climbed on a piece of furniture before falling. In almost 20% of the accidents dangerous balcony or house constructions led to the fall. Parents did not witness the fall, except for three cases (10%) with direct parental involvement (one mother jumped out with her child, two mothers threw their child out of the window). Two children (6%) attempted suicide. Children aged 0-5years were predominantly represented (84%), and all six children who died were in this age group. There were significantly more patients with foreign nationalities and lower socio-professional categories in group A than in group B. In both groups, the accidents concerned the youngest child of the family in approximately 50% and happened mostly during summer evenings. There were no significant differences in injured systems and in injury severity between the two groups. This study identified young age, an immigrant family setting, low socio-professional category of the parents, dangerous house constructions, inappropriate furniture placement, and summertime evenings as risk factors for serious building falls in children. This information may foster focused prevention

Abstract

This study wanted to search for potential risk factors associated with falls from windows and balconies in order to eventually improve prevention. All children under the age of 16years suffering from head injuries/multiple trauma due to falls from windows or balconies treated over the last 7years at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the University Children's Hospital Zürich were analysed retrospectively (group A). Fifty patients out of all children suffering from head injuries/multiple trauma due to other types of accidents in the same period were selected at random as controls (group B). Out of a total of 241 children with head injury and/or multiple trauma, 31 (13%) fell out of a building. Twenty-seven of these victims (87%) fell from the third floor or lower. Twenty-one of the falls (68%) occurred at home. Fifteen children (49%) climbed on a piece of furniture before falling. In almost 20% of the accidents dangerous balcony or house constructions led to the fall. Parents did not witness the fall, except for three cases (10%) with direct parental involvement (one mother jumped out with her child, two mothers threw their child out of the window). Two children (6%) attempted suicide. Children aged 0-5years were predominantly represented (84%), and all six children who died were in this age group. There were significantly more patients with foreign nationalities and lower socio-professional categories in group A than in group B. In both groups, the accidents concerned the youngest child of the family in approximately 50% and happened mostly during summer evenings. There were no significant differences in injured systems and in injury severity between the two groups. This study identified young age, an immigrant family setting, low socio-professional category of the parents, dangerous house constructions, inappropriate furniture placement, and summertime evenings as risk factors for serious building falls in children. This information may foster focused prevention

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Health Sciences > Surgery
Language:English
Date:1 September 2006
Deposited On:19 Dec 2018 16:36
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:54
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0179-0358
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00383-006-1731-7
PubMed ID:16871397

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