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Over 130,000 children and young people (aged 0-24 years) were hospitalised as a result of an injury in 2011-12, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Hospitalised injury in children and young people: 2011-12, shows the overall rate of injury in children and young people was 1,785 cases per 100,000 people. Injuries amongst boys and young men outnumbered those amongst girls and young women by 2 to 1.

Males aged 18-24 years had the highest overall rate of injury, at 3,298 cases per 100,000 people.

The major causes for hospitalised injury in children and young people in 2011-12 were falls, which made up 29.9%, transport injuries (14.5%), intentional self-harm (6.7%) and assault (5.5%).

Young adults (aged 18-24 years) had the highest rates of transport injury (442 cases per 100,000 children and young people). Most transport injuries in women involved cars, while in men most involved a motor cycle.

'Young adults also had the highest rates of assault, with 251 cases per 100,000 children and young people,' said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.

The rate of assault for young men was 3 times higher than for young women, and young women were much more likely to report being assaulted by a spouse or domestic partner.

Adolescents (aged 15-17) had the highest rate of intentional self-harm (320 cases per 100,000 people). The rate of intentional self-harm among female adolescents was over 4 times that of males. The most common means for both females and males was intentional self-poisoning.

Rates of drowning and injury due to thermal causes (mostly burns) were highest among infants (under 12 months) and relatively high among children aged 1 to 4 years.

'About 75% of infant drowning cases resulting in hospitalisation were in bathtubs, while 60% of drownings among children aged 1-4 were in swimming pools,' Professor Harrison said.

Rates of unintentional poisoning by pharmaceuticals and other substances were the highest in the 1-4 age group, while rates of injury due to falls were highest for children aged 5-9.

'These falls were commonly from playground equipment, primarily climbing apparatus,' Professor Harrison said.

For children aged 10-14 falls were the leading causes of hospitalised injury, and 15% of these cases involved skateboards.

Overall rates of injury were higher in rural and remote areas and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 12 November 2014

Further information: Professor James Harrison, tel. 08 8201 7602, mob. 0405 031 467

Full publication: Hospitalised injury in children and young people: 2011-12