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articles below will be published online April 19, 2012, at 4 p.m. (EDT) by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look” at http://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl, and they are currently scheduled
to appear in the June 2012 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles
have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not
yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American
Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.
American Journal of Public Health Highlights:
Sleep environment hazards contribute
largely to sudden unexpected infant deaths
Poor urban areas experience a
higher rate of road traffic injuries: Traffic volume and road design to blame
exist among US high school drivers in safety belt usage
environment hazards contribute largely to sudden unexpected infant deaths
Placing infants on their backs on a firm crib
mattress without soft bedding or other objects in the crib as well as not
practicing bed sharing with adults are key practices that help to prevent
sudden unexpected infant deaths, a recent study from the American Journal of Public Health suggests.
Researchers obtained data from the
National Child Death Review Case Reporting System. They pulled data between years
2005 to 2008 from nine U.S. states to assess 3,136 sleep-related sudden unexpected
infant deaths, or SUIDs. They discovered that only 25 percent of infants were
sleeping in a crib or on their back when found. Seventy percent were on a
surface not intended for infant sleep, such as an adult bed. Sixty-four percent
of infants were sharing a sleep surface, and almost half of these infants were
sleeping with an adult. Infants whose deaths were classified as suffocation or an
undetermined cause were significantly more likely than infants whose deaths
were classified as sudden infant death syndrome to be found on a surface not
intended for infant sleep and to be sharing that sleep surface. By identifying
the modifiable sleep environment risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome,
awareness about preventive steps can be made.
The study’s authors concluded, “Our findings have important implications for
preventing injuries and reducing SUID mortality. We identified modifiable sleep
environment risk factors in a large proportion of SUIDs, regardless of the
ultimate cause of death classification.”
[From: “Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths: Sleep Environment and Circumstances.”
Contact: Patricia G. Schnitzer, Sinclair School of Nursing, University of
Missouri, Columbia, Mo., firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Poor urban areas experience higher rate of road traffic injuries; Traffic
volume and road design to blame
more road traffic injuries occur in poor urban areas compared with wealthier
areas, indicates a study published in the American
Journal of Public Health. This may be attributable to differences in
Researchers performed a multilevel observational study of 19,568 road users
injured over five years at 17,498 intersections in a large urban area in
Montreal, Canada. Researchers used intersection-level characteristics, such as
traffic estimates, major roads and number of legs, and area-level characteristics,
defined by population density, commuting travel modes and household income.
They found that traffic volume at
intersections increased significantly with poverty. At intersections in the
poorest census tracts, there were an average 6.3 times more pedestrians
injured, 3.9 times more cyclists injured and 4.3 times more motor vehicle
occupants injured than in the wealthiest census tracts. They concluded that
roadway environment can explain a substantial portion of the excess rate of
road traffic injuries in the poorest urban area.
“Our results contribute to identifying plausible causal pathways for
inequalities in road traffic injuries across neighborhoods. They also suggest
that large-scale environmental preventive strategies, such as traffic volume
reduction and safer roadway design, may have large public health benefits by
reducing crashes,” the study’s authors conclude.
[From: "Neighborhood Social
Inequalities in Road Traffic Injuries: The Influence of Traffic Volume and Road
Design." Contact: Patrick Morency, MD, PhD, Direction de santé publique de
Montréal, Montréal, Québec, email@example.com.]
exist among US high school drivers in safety belt usage
Primary safety belt laws help to increase
compliance among teens to wear their safety belt, reports a new study from the American Journal of Public Health. This
practice is proven to lower mortality rates associated with automobile deaths.
Using data from the 2006 National Young Driver Survey comprising a national
representative sample of 3,126 high-school drivers, researchers examined
associations between safety belt laws and belt use. Specifically they looked at
the reported safety belt use, for both drivers and passengers, among teenagers
with learner’s permits, provisional licenses and unrestricted licenses in
states with primary or secondary enforcement of safety belt laws. They found
that teenage drivers were 12 percent less likely to wear a safety belt as
drivers and 15 percent less likely to wear one as passengers in states with a
secondary safety belt law than in states with a primary law. The apparent
reduction in belt use among teenagers as they progressed from learner to
unrestricted license holder occurred only in secondary enforcement states.
Groups reporting particularly low use of safety belts included African American
drivers, rural residents, academically challenged students and those driving
study showed that primary enforcement safety belt laws may play a key role in
mitigating the disparity in safety belt use among certain teenaged subpopulation
groups. … Because some teenaged subpopulations have lower safety belt use, even
with primary enforcement laws, combined approaches that
include upgrades to laws with campaigns and enforcement might be warranted.”
“Safety Belt Laws and Disparities in Safety Belt Use Among US High-School
Drivers.” Contact: Dr. J. Felipe García-España, Center for Injury
Research and Prevention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia,
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