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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2010, Article ID 819687, 23 pages
Review Article

20 Years of Research on Socioeconomic Inequality and Children's—Unintentional Injuries Understanding the Cause-Specific Evidence at Hand

1Division of Global Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Nobels väg 9, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
2Centre de Recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, 1301 Rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, QC, Canada H2L 1M3

Received 31 January 2010; Revised 18 May 2010; Accepted 4 June 2010

Academic Editor: M. Denise Dowd

Copyright © 2010 Lucie Laflamme et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Injuries are one of the major causes of both death and social inequalities in health in children. This paper reviews and reflects on two decades of empirical studies (1990 to 2009) published in the peer-reviewed medical and public health literature on socioeconomic disparities as regards the five main causes of childhood unintentional injuries (i.e., traffic, drowning, poisoning, burns, falls). Studies have been conducted at both area and individual levels, the bulk of which deal with road traffic, burn, and fall injuries. As a whole and for each injury cause separately, their results support the notion that low socioeconomic status is greatly detrimental to child safety but not in all instances and settings. In light of variations between causes and, within causes, between settings and countries, it is emphasized that the prevention of inequities in child safety requires not only that proximal risk factors of injuries be tackled but also remote and fundamental ones inherent to poverty.