Keeping children safe at home: Protocol for three matched case-control studies of modifiable risk factors for falls
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Background Childhood falls result in considerable morbidity, mortality and health service use. Despite this, little evidence exists on protective factors or effective falls prevention interventions in young children. Objectives To estimate ORs for three types of medically attended fall injuries in young children in relation to safety equipment, safety behaviours and hazard reduction and explore differential effects by child and family factors and injury severity. Design Three multicentre case-control studies in UK hospitals with validation of parental reported exposures using home observations. Cases are aged 0-4 years with a medically attended fall injury occurring at home, matched on age and sex with community controls. Children attending hospital for other types of injury will serve as unmatched hospital controls. Matched analyses will use conditional logistic regression to adjust for potential confounding variables. Unmatched analyses will use unconditional logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, deprivation and distance from hospital in addition to other confounders. Each study requires 496 cases and 1984 controls to detect an OR of 0.7, with 80% power, 5% significance level, a correlation between cases and controls of 0.1 and a range of exposure prevalences. Main outcome measures Falls on stairs, on one level and from furniture. Discussion As the largest in the field to date, these case control studies will adjust for potential confounders, validate measures of exposure and investigate modifiable risk factors for specific falls injury mechanisms. Findings should enhance the evidence base for falls prevention for young children.