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Keywords:

  • China;
  • injury epidemiology;
  • mortality rate;
  • relative risk;
  • surveillance

Aims:  The aims of this study are to investigate injury mortality in children aged 1–4 years, to analyse prevalent mortality rates of childhood injury and to identify the leading causes of child injury deaths in China from 2000 to 2008.

Methods:  The data were obtained from a nationwide mortality surveillance system for children under 5 years of age in China. The injury mortality rates of children aged 1–4 years were compared between rural and urban areas, boys and girls and among five major injury types between 2000 and 2008.

Results:  During the 9-year study period, the injury mortality rates for children aged 1–4 years declined significantly by an average of 5.4% each year (P < 0.001; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.6–7.0%) overall in China, with a decrease of 4.8% (P < 0.001; 95% CI: 2.5–7.1%) and 9.9% (P < 0.001; 95% CI: 4.9–14.7%) in rural and urban areas, respectively. The proportion of injury-related deaths to total mortality rates dropped from 32.9% in 2000 to 18.8% in 2008 in urban areas but increased from 45.6% to 56.9% in rural areas. The injury mortality rates in both boys and girls decreased significantly by an average of 5.4% each year (P < 0.001; 95% CI: 2.6–8.0%) and 6.1% (P < 0.001; 95% CI: 2.7–9.4%), respectively. Drowning and traffic accidents were the most prevalent causes of injury-related deaths in children aged 1–4 years.

Conclusion:  Childhood injury is still the leading cause of death in children aged 1–4 years in China. Drowning and traffic accidents were the most prevalent causes of childhood deaths in this study. Boys living in rural areas are at a higher risk and therefore require increased attention to help control and prevent childhood injury.