Accidental falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalisations in Australia, according to a series of reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning, Australia 2008-09, shows there were almost 413,000 injury cases that required hospitalisation in 2008-09, with accidental falls accounting for 38% of these cases.
'Women are more likely to be hospitalised as a result of an accidental fall than men, and rates are highest among older Australians,' said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.
The second most common cause of hospitalised injury was transport accidents-accounting for about 14% of cases (61,000 in 2008-09).
'Males had a higher rate of transport injury hospitalisations than females across all age groups, with the highest rates among those aged 15-24', Professor Harrison said.
For very young children (aged 0-4), the most common causes of injury hospitalisations were falls (40%), smoke, fire, heat and hot substances (8%) and poisoning by drugs (7%).
Falls were the most common cause of injury requiring hospitalisation among older children aged 5-14 (45%), followed by transport accidents (17%).
For young adults (aged 15-24), the most common causes were transport accidents (20%), falls (14%), assault (12%) and intentional self-harm (10%).
A similar pattern was seen in adults aged 25-44 where transport accidents accounted for 17% of hospitalisations, falls for 15%, intentional self-harm 11% and assault 11%.
Just over a quarter of injury cases occurred at home. A higher proportion of injuries for females occurred at home than for males (35% vs 19%) while males were more likely than females to have been injured on a street or highway, as well as in sports and athletics areas, trade and construction areas, and farms.
'Rates of injury increased with geographical remoteness-the lowest rate of 1,661 per 100,000 people was in Major cities while the highest rate of 3,795 per 100,000 people was in Very remote regions,' Professor Harrison said.
Two reports covering the 2007-08 and 2006-07 years were also released today, with similar findings to the 2008-09 report.
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.