Children may be most at risk of stab injuries on way home from school

November 6, 2018, British Medical Journal

Children may be most at risk of being stabbed on their way home from school, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Quite apart from the known links between and deprivation and male gender, there seem to be distinct temporal and geographical patterns by age group among young stab victims, indicate the findings.

The frequency of stabbings spikes between 1600 and 1800 hours, attributable to incidents occurring on school days, the findings show.

And nearly half of injuries (47%) in this age group occurred 1-5 km from home, reflecting the average distance from home to school for living in the capital, say the researchers.

In 2017 just under 37,000 offences involving knives or other sharp implements were recorded in England and Wales-a rise of 26 per cent on the previous year's figures.

Young men between the ages of 16 and 24 from economically deprived urban areas are most at risk of knife crime, the evidence shows. But the study authors wanted to find out if there were any distinct timing and location patterns according to age group.

So they scrutinised 1824 patients under the age of 25 (out of a total of 3274) with knife wounds requiring emergency care at one major London trauma centre between 2004 and 2014.

Of these, 172 (just under 10%) were children under the age of 16; 861 (just over 47%) were aged 16-19; and 791 (just over 43%) were in their early 20s.

Between 2004 and 2014, the annual number of stab wound victims in these rose by 25 per cent each year, with most cases (71%) coming from the areas of greatest deprivation.

To assess this in more detail, the researchers compared injury patterns in children with those in 16-24 year olds.

Among children, stabbings peaked between 1600 and 1800 hours, accounting for more than one in five (22%) injuries compared with around one in 10 (11%) in , nearly one in three of whom (31%).were significantly more likely to be stabbed after midnight.

The researchers then looked at location and found that although a large proportion of stabbings occurred within 1 km of home across all age groups, children were significantly more likely to be stabbed between 1 and 5 km from home and less likely to be stabbed more than 5 km away.

When incidents were divided between those occurring on school days and those occurring on weekends/school holidays, the data showed that children were more likely than teens or young adults to be stabbed on a school day: 58 per cent vs 50 per cent.

On weekends and school holidays, the timing of stabbings in children matched that of young adults.

There were no obvious differences among the three age groups, but children tended to be more at risk of dying in hospital of their wounds, despite the comparable severity of their injuries, and the frequency of stab injuries rose sharply in the teenage years.

This is an observational study, so cannot establish cause. And the findings may not be more widely applicable to other areas or countries, say the researchers. Nor were they able to analyse behavioural patterns, time trends, or gang involvement.

In Glasgow, Scotland, a public health approach to curb violence, focusing on education, policing, and legislation, has seen a reduction in knife crime. And the researchers comment: "It is clear that a multifaceted approach with sustained investment from government and the community is required for effective violence reduction."

They suggest that, given their findings, a visible police presence in areas where schoolchildren tend to congregate after , might be helpful.

And they conclude: "Our study illustrates and reiterates the potent influence of deprivation, age, and gender on the risk of violent injury... Long term multiagency interventions are essential to drive sustained reductions in interpersonal violence and will be better informed by the recognition of knife crime as a pressing public health issue."

Explore further: More americans DOA from gun, knife wounds

More information: BMJ Open (2018). bmjopen.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10. … /bmjopen-2018-023114

Related Stories

More americans DOA from gun, knife wounds

May 8, 2018
(HealthDay)—Victims of gunshots or stabbings are much more likely to die before arriving at U.S. trauma centers than 10 years ago. This suggests the intensity of violence is increasing, a new study contends.

National bans on slapping children linked to less youth violence

October 15, 2018
National bans on parents slapping or spanking their children to punish them for bad behaviour are linked to lower rates of youth violence, reveals an international study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Childhood injuries linked to deprivation but better data collection is needed for prevention

February 9, 2015
In a recent study Dianna Smith and Graham Kirkwood, of QMUL's Blizard Institute, found there were more childhood injuries in areas of deprivation but, they write, with a thorough recording process better prevention can take ...

Study reveals growing severity of US firearm injuries requiring hospital admission since early 90s

February 28, 2018
New data published in the journal Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open today show an annual increase in severity of non-fatal firearm injuries needing hospital admission across the United States since the early 1990s.

Young British men view knife carrying as a 'legitimate response' to potential threats

May 13, 2011
Knife carrying is seen as a legitimate response both to potential threats and to the lack of protection provided by authorities, according to a study of young white British males published in this week's BMJ.

Recommended for you

Study shows changes in histone methylation patterns in nutritionally stunted children

November 13, 2018
An international team of researchers has found changes in histone methylation patterns in nutritionally stunted children. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their ...

Your 6-month-old isn't sleeping through the night? Relax

November 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—If your 6-month-old still wakes up at 2 a.m., a new study suggests you don't lose any additional sleep worrying about it.

New exercise guidelines: Move more, sit less, start younger

November 12, 2018
Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health.

Some activity fine for kids recovering from concussions, docs say

November 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Children and teens who suffer a sports-related concussion should reduce, but not eliminate, physical and mental activity in the days after their injury, an American Academy of Pediatrics report says.

Breast milk and babies' saliva shape oral microbiome

November 8, 2018
Newborn breastfed babies' saliva combines with breastmilk to release antibacterial compounds that help to shape the bacterial communities (microbiota) in babies' mouths, biomedical scientists have found.

Preschool children show awake responses to naptime nonsense words

November 7, 2018
Of all of our senses, hearing is the only one that has long been suspected as being "on" all the time—even in our sleep. Sounds that occur during the night have a way of registering in the brain. Now a group of scientists ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.