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Medical Practice

Accidents in the home among children under 5: ethnic differences or social disadvantage?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 21 May 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:1450
  1. Rafi Alwash,
  2. Mark McCarthy


    Accidents in the home to children under 5 in a multiracial population with a high level of social disadvantage were studied by interviewing at home the parents of 402 children attending the accident department of a west London hospital during one year. The parents' country of birth, whether they were employed, and their housing conditions were recorded using the definitions of the 1981 census. Four ethnic groups (British (183 children), Asian (127), Caribbean (61), and other (31)) were identified. Though attendance rates based on the populations of electoral wards at the census and standardised for distance from the hospital showed no significant differences among the ethnic groups, there was a strong gradient by social class and strong associations with unemployment of the mother (although not of the father), overcrowding, and tenure of housing.

    Social disadvantage seems to be more important than ethnicity as a determinant of accidents to children in the home.

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