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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


PRINSLOO, M et al. Non-fatal injuries among boys and girls presenting to Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2022, vol.112, n.7, pp.465-471. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: In South Africa (SA), road traffic injuries, homicides and burns are the leading causes of injury-related deaths among children. Injury-related deaths are well documented for SA, but this is not the case for non-fatal injuries OBJECTIVES: To describe the non-fatal injuries sustained among children aged 0-13 years, to identify any significant sex differences by age group, cause of injury, admission status and injury severity METHODS: The trauma unit database from 1997 to 2016 at Red Cross War Memorial Childrens Hospital, Cape Town, was utilised for this analysis. The prevalence of injuries and the boy/girl ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were reported RESULTS: Analysis indicated significant differences by sex for individual injury causes (transport, assault, burns, falls and other injuries), age group, injury severity and admission status. Moderately severe injuries were largely caused by burns, while severe injuries were mostly transport related. Boys had significantly higher proportions of all injury causes. The boy/girl ratio was lowest for assault (1:18), where significantly more girls aged 1-3 and 4-6 years were injured. Rape/sexual assault was 5.5 times higher for girls, with a significantly higher proportion of moderate-severity injuries (87%; 95% CI 84.7 - 89.4 CONCLUSION: The study findings call for a more targeted prevention response for boy and girl children. Interventions should be targeted at the prevention of burns, traffic collisions and interpersonal violence, in particular sexual assaults against girls

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