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The short-term cost of falls, poisonings and scalds occurring at home in children under 5 years old in England: multicentre longitudinal study

Lookup NU author(s): Adrian Hawkins


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Background Childhood falls, poisonings and scalds, occurring predominantly in the home, are an important public health problem, yet there is limited evidence on the costs of these injuries to individuals and society.Objectives To estimate National Health Service (NHS) and child and family costs of falls, poisonings and scalds.Methods We undertook a multicentre longitudinal study of falls, poisonings and scalds in children under 5 years old, set in acute NHS Trusts across four UK study centres. Data from parental self-reported questionnaires on health service resource use, family costs and expenditure were combined with unit cost data from published sources to calculate average cost for participants and injury mechanism.Results 344 parents completed resource use questionnaires until their child recovered from their injury or until 12 months, whichever came soonest. Most injuries were minor, with >95% recovering within 2 weeks, and 99% within 1 month of the injury. 61% emergency department (ED) attendees were not admitted, 35% admitted for <= 1 day and 4% admitted for >= 2 days. The typical healthcare cost of an admission for >= 2 days was estimated at 2000-3000 pound, for an admission for <= 1 day was 700-1000 pound and for an ED attendance without admission was 100-180 pound. Family costs were considerable and varied across injury mechanisms. Of all injuries, scalds accrued highest healthcare and family costs.Conclusions Falls, poisonings and scalds incur considerable short-term healthcare and family costs. These data can inform injury prevention policy and commissioning of preventive services.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cooper NJ, Kendrick D, Timblin C, Hayes M, Majsak-Newman G, Meteyard K, Hawkins A, Kay B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Injury Prevention

Year: 2016

Volume: 22

Issue: 5

Pages: 334-341

Print publication date: 01/10/2016

Online publication date: 29/01/2016

Acceptance date: 06/01/2016

ISSN (print): 1353-8047

ISSN (electronic): 1475-5785

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041808


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Funder referenceFunder name
RP-PG-0407-10231National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme