Injuries in Ontario farm children: a population based study.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES To evaluate injury rates, patterns, and risk factors in 4,916 Ontario farm children aged 0-18 years. SETTING 1,765 full time family operated Ontario farms with a husband-wife couple where the wife was of reproductive age. METHODS Injury details were obtained from mothers, while parents and farm operators provided risk factor information retrospectively in a population based mail survey. Rates were calculated based on injury occurrence and person years at risk in different age groups. Descriptive analyses used cross tabulations of injury details by age, sex, and season. Injury risk factors were assessed using multiple logistic regression. RESULTS Age specific injury rates ranged from 6.3-22.6 per thousand person years, peaking in 1-4 year olds. Although consistently higher for boys, both sexes showed similar trends in age specific rates. Rates likely represent underestimates due to diminished recall of past events. Open wounds to the head/face region were the most prevalent type of injury (17.1%) followed by fractures/dislocations to the upper extremities (14.9%). Mechanism differed by age group, though falls and machinery consistently ranked in the top three. Occurrence peaked in summer. Regression analyses indicated child's sex and parental education were associated with injury risk across age categories. Other risk factors, such as numbers of livestock, parental owner/operator status, and mother's off-site employment, differed between ages. CONCLUSIONS Patterns and risk factors for injuries to farm children are heterogenous across age categories. Observed age differences are useful for targeting prevention initiatives.

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