A new report says aboriginal children suffer from unintentional injuries serious enough to require hospitalization at twice the rate of other kids in Canada.
The Statistics Canada report is based on five years of national data gathered from 2001-2002 to 2005-2006. Figures for Quebec were not included in the analysis.
During that time, Canadian acute-care hospitals discharged 117,605 children and youth aged 19 and younger who were treated for an unintentional injury.
The report says falls and land transportation injuries were the main reasons that children were sent to hospital.
But gaps in the rates of injuries due to fires, natural environmental causes, and drowning or suffocation were greater when rates among aboriginal children were compared to other kids.
Hospitalizations among boys were more common than among girls. But the differences in the rates of injuries among aboriginal girls compared to other girls were greater than the differences between aboriginal and non-aboriginal boys.
Unintentional injuries are what most people would describe as accidents — events in which there is no intent to harm. Drug reactions and injuries caused by medical errors were not included in the analysis, nor were injuries that caused death.
The Statistics Canada analysts used postal code information, which meant they weren't directly comparing aboriginal children to non-aboriginal children.
Rather, they compared injury rates among children who lived in areas with a high concentration (more than 33 per cent) of people of First Nations, Métis or Inuit origin to children who lived in areas where there was a low concentration of people from any of those groups.
They found children and youth who lived in areas where there was a low percentage of aboriginals were hospitalized for injuries at a rate of 37.1 per 10,000 person-years.
In areas where many First Nations, Métis or Inuit people lived, the rates were 85.9, 88.2 and 83 respectively.
The report notes that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and disability among Canadian children, and can have life-long health consequences for children who survive them.