OBJECTIVES: To describe the dimensions of childhood pedestrian and bicyclist injuries in Long Beach, California, and to identify risk factors for these injuries. POPULATION: Long Beach residents aged 0-14 years who were involved in an auto versus pedestrian or bicyclist incident that resulted in a hospital visit and/or police response, between 1 September 1988 and 31 August 1990. METHODS: Cases were identified retrospectively using hospital charts, police records, and coroner's reports; demographic, clinical, and situational information were abstracted from the same. A nested case-control study was conducted to examine the street environments where children were injured, and to identify environmental risk factors at these case sites. RESULTS: 288 children comprised the sample population. Midblock dart-outs emerged as the single most common type of incident. Most incidents happened on residential streets, but the risk of injury was greatest on larger boulevards, and tended to cluster by region within the city. Adjusted odds ratios show that case sites had a larger proportion of traffic exceeding posted speed limits, and were also four times more likely to be near a convenience store, gas station, or fast food store than control sites. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study suggest three possible routes for the prevention of childhood pedestrian and bicyclist injuries: education, law enforcement, and environmental modification.
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