Background — Injuries are the leading cause of death among Canadian children and are responsible for a substantial proportion of hospitalizations and emergency department visits. This investigation sought to identify the factors associated with the likelihood of sustaining an injury at school among Ottawa-area children.
Methods — Children presenting to Ottawa-area hospitals and urgent care clinics from January to December 2002 (n = 24,074) were included for analysis. The frequency of school injuries by sex, age group, type of injury, and hospitalization was analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the factors associated with sustaining an injury at school. The school activities most associated with injury and the most frequent types of school injuries were assessed.
Results — A total of 4287 Ottawa-area children were injured at school in 2002, representing 18% of all injuries. Children aged 5-9 years and 10-14 years were more likely to have school injuries than older children (aged 15-19 years) (OR = 3.07, 95% CI = 2.77-3.40 and OR = 3.10, 95% CI = 2.83-3.37, respectively). The most frequently encountered school injuries were fractures (n = 1132) and musculoskeletal injury (n = 907). The most frequent mechanisms of school injuries were "playing" (n = 1004) and "informal sports" (n = 1503).
Conclusions — Many children get hurt at school, particularly during informal recreation activities. Environmental modification and increased supervision are strategies that may reduce school injuries.