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Housing quality associated with children's burn injury risk
Date:11/12/2012

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy finds many children may be at heightened risk for fire and scald burns by virtue of living in substandard housing. Researchers surveyed the homes of 246 low-income families in Baltimore with at least one young child, and found homes with more housing quality code violations were less likely to have a working smoke alarm and safe hot water temperatures. The report is published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"The effect of substandard housing on children's risk of diseases such as asthma is well-known, however little was known about how it affects injury risk," said lead study author Andrea Gielen, ScD, ScM, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "The results of this study clearly demonstrate that substandard housing is also related to home injury risks. Even more disturbing is the finding that virtually all of the children in our urban sample were living in substandard housing."

Injury is the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S, and is responsible for more than180,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. Deaths from fires and burns are the third leading cause of fatal home injury. Smoke alarms and lower water temperatures effectively reduce the risk of burns, but living in substandard housing appears to be a barrier to having these protective measures in place.

Researchers used the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Housing Quality Standards assessment to complete the in-home observations. The tool contains a 46item home safety checklist for 6 categories: kitchens and bathrooms; electrical wiring; heating and cooling; walls, ceilings, and floors; sanitation and safety; and outside the home. Consistent with HUD requirements, the entire unit is deemed to be of substandard quality unless it is in compliance
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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-6878
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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