Between 1999-00 and 2006-07 nearly twice the number of boys were hospitalised as a result of an injury than girls, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report Trends in hospitalised childhood injury in Australia: 1999-2007 shows that almost half a million children aged 0-14 were hospitalised as a result of an injury in this period. On average 60,000 children are hospitalised each year.
About 295,100 boys were hospitalised, in the period compared to almost 176,300 girls, a ratio of 1.7 to 1. In the 10-14 age group, however, the ratio was 2.3 to 1.
‘These ratios were similar across all causes of injury except one,’ said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.
Girls were more likely to be hospitalised due to intentional self-harm, with about 3,500 girls hospitalised for this reason between 1999 and 2007, compared with 840 boys.
‘It is important to bear in mind that not all of these self-harm hospitalisations would be regarded as suicide attempts.’
Overall, falls were the main cause of hospitalised injury among children, with just over 193,100 cases in 1999-2007, followed by transport-related injury with almost 66,900 cases.
The most frequent causes of hospitalised falls in children aged 9 years and under involved playground equipment. Older children were more likely to be injured roller-skating and skateboarding.
Bicycles were the most common form of transport involved in a transport injury. In 5-9 year olds and 10-14 year olds, transport incidents accounted for 14% and 23% of all hospitalised injuries respectively.
For those aged 10-14 motorcycles were also a common cause of hospitalisation.
For 0-4 year olds poisoning by pharmaceuticals and the effects of exposure to smoke, fire, heat and hot substances were common causes of hospitalised injury, accounting for 17% of hospitalised injuries in this age group.
‘The rate of hospitalised injury for children did not change by much over the reporting period, with a fall of less than 1% per year overall,’ Professor Harrison said.
‘The only significant decline was in poisoning by pharmaceuticals, which on average fell by 7.5% a year, from about 2,600 cases in 1999-2000 to about 1,600 cases in 2006-07.’