Unintentional injuries in children with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Xiuquan Shi, Junxin Shi, Krista K Wheeler, Lorann Stallones, Shanthi Ameratunga, Tom Shakespeare, Gary A Smith, Huiyun Xiang

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Children with disabilities are thought to have an increased risk of unintentional injuries, but quantitative syntheses of findings from previous studies have not been done. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess whether pre-existing disability can increase the risk of unintentional injuries among children when they are compared to children without disability. We searched 13 electronic databases to identify original research published between 1 January 1990 and 28 February 2013. We included those studies that reported on unintentional injuries among children with pre-existing disabilities compared with children without disabilities. We conducted quality assessments and then calculated pooled odds ratios of injury using random-effects models. Fifteen eligible studies were included from 24,898 references initially identified, and there was a total sample of 83,286 children with disabilities drawn from the eligible studies. When compared with children without disabilities, the pooled OR of injury was 1.86 (95 % CI 1.65-2.10) in children with disabilities. The pooled ORs of injury were 1.28, 1.75, and 1.86 in the 0-4 years, 5-9 years, and ≥10 years of age subgroups, respectively. Compared with children without disabilities, the pooled OR was 1.75 (95 % CI 1.26-2.43) among those with International Classification of Functioning (ICF) limitations. When disability was defined as physical disabilities, the pooled OR was 2.39 (95 % CI 1.43-4.00), and among those with cognitive disabilities, the pooled OR was 1.77 (95 % CI 1.49-2.11). There was significant heterogeneity in the included studies. Compared with peers without disabilities, children with disabilities are at a significantly higher risk of injury. Teens with disabilities may be an important subgroup for future injury prevention efforts. More data are needed from low- and middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Number of pages13
JournalInjury Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2015

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