Australian hospitals treated more than 25,000 children with fall-related injuries during 1997-98-making falls the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation among children aged 14 years and under, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Child Injuries Due to Falls shows while few children die from fall-related injuries (about 11 children per year), falls nevertheless accounted for 38% of child hospital admissions due to injury and poisoning.
More than two-thirds of children hospitalised after falls were boys.
Most children admitted to hospital after falls are discharged either on the same day or after one day, but nearly 11% are hospitalised for three days or more.
Report co-author Malinda Steenkamp, from the AIHW's National Injury Surveillance Unit at Flinders University, said that a notable number of children had serious outcomes as a result of falls.
'Also, there are clusters of fall-related injury that may be amenable to intervention-for example, a large proportion of accidental falls in the 5-9 year age group is associated with playground equipment,' Ms Steenkamp said.
Nearly two-thirds of fall-related injuries are to the arms and shoulders and one quarter are head and face injuries.'
Other findings of the report include:
27% of fall-related injuries in children leading to hospitalisation occur in the home.
15% of fall-related injuries in children leading to hospitalisation occur in sport-related or recreational environments.
Children aged 5-9 years accounted for about 40% of child hospitalisations due to accidental falls.
Of all children aged 5-9 years hospitalised for fall injuries, 53% of girls and 46% of boys fell from play equipment.
Falls from or out of buildings or other structures accounted for 27% of all fall-related deaths in children.