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Effect of environmental factors on risk of injury of child pedestrians by motor vehicles: a case-control study

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 14 January 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:91
  1. I Roberts, research fellowa,
  2. R Norton, directora,
  3. R Jackson, associate professor of epidemiologyb,
  4. R Dunn, senior lecturerc,
  5. I Hassall, commissioner for childrend
  1. a Injury Prevention Research Centre, Department of Community Health, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. b Department of Community Health, University of Auckland
  3. c Department of Civil and Resource Engineering, University of Auckland
  4. d Office of the Commissioner for Children, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to: Dr I Roberts, Department of Community Paediatric Research, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University, 2300 Tupper, Montreal, Quebec H3H 1P3, Canada.
  • Accepted 23 November 1994


Objective: To identify and assess contribution of environmental risk factors for injury of child pedestrians by motor vehicles.

Design: Community based case-control study. Environmental characteristics of sites of child pedestrian injury were compared with the environmental characteristics of selected comparison sites. Each comparison site was the same distance and direction from home of control child as was the injury site from home of relevant case child. Two control sites were selected for each injury site.

Setting: Auckland region of New Zealand.

Subjects: Cases were 190 child pedestrians aged <15 who were killed orhospitalised after collision with a motor vehicle on a public road during two years and two months. Controls were 380 children randomly sampled from population and frequency matched for age and sex.

Main outcome measures: Traffic volume and speed and level of parking on curbs at injury sites and comparison sites.

Results: Risk of injury of child pedestrians was strongly associated with traffic volume: risk of injury at sites with highest traffic volumes was 14 times greater than that at least busy sites (odds ratio 14.30; 95% confidence interval 6.98 to 29.20), and risk increased with increasing traffic volume. High density of curb parking was also associated with increased risk (odds ratio 8.12; 3.32 to 19.90). Risk was increased at sites with mean speeds over 40 km/h (odds ratio 2.68; 1.26 to 5.69), although risk did not increase further with increasing speed.

Conclusion: Reducing traffic volume in urban areas could significantly reduce rates of child pedestrian injury. Restricting curb parking may also be effective.

Key messages

  • Key messages

  • This study showed a strong association between increasing risk of injury of child pedestrians and increasing traffic volume

  • High density of curb parking was also associated with greatly increased risk of injury

  • Transport policies that reduce traffic volumes in urban areas could substantially reduce


  • Restricting curb parking at crossing points may also be effective at reducing risk


    • Accepted 23 November 1994
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