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Family Financial Status Affects Child-Care Injury Rates

Kids from less-affluent families are at higher risk, study finds

TUESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Although children from poorer families who have child care may suffer from a higher rate of accidental injuries, child care could actually protect kids from affluent families, new research suggests.

In the report, published online Nov. 24 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers looked at a study of 14,000 children in the United Kingdom who were born between 2000 and 2002.

Mothers answered questions about how their children were taken care of and whether they'd gone to a doctor or an emergency department for care of unintentional injuries.

The researchers found that at the age of 9 months, about half of the babies were cared for only by a parent, but that number fell to 40 percent by the age of 3.

Up until the age of 9 months, injury rates were the same regardless of whether parents took care of infants by themselves or got help from elsewhere. But those who had formal child care -- such as those who went to a day-care center -- had higher injury rates if they were from poorer backgrounds and lower injury rates if they were more affluent, the study authors reported.

At the age of 3, informal child care -- from relatives, friends and babysitters, among others -- was linked to a slightly higher rate of injury among kids from less-affluent families, the study found.

More information

Learn more about child care from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: BMJ Journals, news release, Nov. 24, 2009

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