Introduction: The main objective of this study is to describe incidence rates of low-speed vehicle run-over (LSVRO) events among children aged 0-14 years residing in Queensland from 1999 to 2009. A second objective was to describe the associated patterns of injury, with respect to gender, age group, severity, characteristics (host, vehicle and environment), and trends over time in relation to geographical remoteness. Final results are hoped to inform prevention policies.
Methods: In this statewide, retrospective, population-based study, data were collected on LSVRO events that occurred among children aged 0-14 years in Queensland from 1999 to 2009 from all relevant data sources across the continuum of care, and manually linked to obtain the most comprehensive estimate possible of the magnitude and nature of LSVRO events to date. Crude incidence rates were calculated separately for males and females, for fatal events, non-fatal events (hospital admissions and non-admissions, respectively), and for all LSVRO events, for each area of geographical remoteness (major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote/very remote). Relative risks and 95% confidence interval were calculated, and trends over time were examined. Data on host, injury and event characteristics were also obtained to investigate whether these characteristics varied between areas of remoteness.
Results: Incidence rates were lowest among children (0-14 years) living in major cities (13.8/100 000/annum, with the highest recorded incidence in outer regional areas (incidence rate =42.5/100 000/annum). Incidence rates were higher for children residing outside major cities for both males and females, for every age group, for each of the 11 years of the study, and consequences of LSVRO events were worse. Young children aged 0-4 years were identified as those most at risk for these events, regardless of geographical location. Differences were observed as a function of remoteness category in relation to injury characteristics (eg injury type), and host characteristics (eg sociodemographic status), but there were no observed differences in environmental characteristics (eg time of day, day of week). Heavy vehicles such as four-wheel drives, utilities, trucks and tractors were more frequently involved in LSVRO events that occurred outside major cities.
Conclusion: The results confirmed that children of all ages and genders residing outside of major cities in Queensland are more at risk of being involved in an LSVRO incident, and experience more severe consequences compared to children in major cities. Future research should address the specific risk factors and focus on engaging rural communities to assist in the prevention of LSVRO incidents.