For Children of Teen Parents, Most Injuries Due to Falls: Study

THURSDAY Nov. 7, 2013 -- Falls are the most common cause of injuries suffered by children of teen parents, a new study finds.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center looked at the causes and types of injuries suffered by children of teen parents. The study included 764 patients younger than age 7 who were treated in the emergency department between 2009 and 2011.

The most common causes of injuries were falls (45 percent) and ingested objects (9 percent). The most common types of injuries were bruising/skin marks (49 percent) and fractures (17 percent).

During the study period, the number of dislocations -- all of which were in the elbow and caused by pulling on an outstretched arm or picking up a child by means other than under the arms -- increased from 4 percent to 7.7 percent. The proportion of head injuries rose from 1 percent to 5.6 percent.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

The number of children born to teen parents in the United States has decreased since the 1990s, but these children are at increased risk for accidental and abuse-related injuries, according to a journal news release. This higher risk may be due to the fact that many teen parents are poor, uneducated and lack the necessary supervision and safety skills.

In the new study, 93 percent of the injuries were unintentional or likely unintentional. Children with intentional injuries had higher rates of hospital admission, head injuries, multiple injuries and death.

"Injury prevention efforts for teenage parents should be devoted to preventing falls and foreign body ingestions," study author Brian Robertson said in the news release.

These programs should help teenage parents improve their parental supervision skills and learn how to make their homes safer by identifying and correcting injury hazards.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers child injury prevention tips.

Posted: November 2013


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