Child pedestrians from poor areas are four times more likely to be hurt in traffic accidents, either as pedestrians or cyclists than those from the most affluent districts, says a new UK study.
The study also showed that young cyclists and car passengers from less well-off areas are twice as likely to be seriously injured than children from affluent areas.
The findings are based on an analysis of hospital admission rates for children aged up to 15 between 1999 and 2004.
Almost 664,000 children up to the age of 15 were admitted to hospital during this period, of which almost 8,000 were for serious injuries.
These were classified as neck and thigh fractures, multiple rib fractures, head injuries, neural and spinal cord injuries, suffocation, and hypothermia.
Falls accounted for over a third of all admissions, and for more than four out of 10 serious injuries. Transport injuries made up one in 10 of all admissions and for almost one in three of those for serious injuries.
Children living in the most deprived areas of the country were four times as likely to sustain a serious injury as a pedestrian as children living in the most affluent areas.
Rates of serious injury for child pedestrians were generally lower in towns and villages than in cities. But there were significant variations. The rate of serious injury sustained by child cyclists was 22 percent lower in London than in other cities.
And children in cars were 50 percent more likely to be seriously injured in villages than they were in cities.
Serious injuries resulting from falls were 60 percent higher in London and more than 20 percent lower in villages than they were in other major urban areas.
The study is published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.