STUDY OBJECTIVE: To examine how child pedestrian exposure to risk, as measured by the mean number of streets crossed, varies according to indices of material disadvantage and ethnic group. DESIGN: A questionnaire on pedestrian exposure to risk was distributed to children for completion by parents and return to school. Children from 40 schools were selected using a probability cluster design. SETTING: The Auckland region of New Zealand. SUBJECTS: Questionnaires were distributed to 3388 pupils of whom 2873 (85%) completed and returned the questionnaire. RESULTS: The mean number of streets crossed was 2.19 (95% confidence interval 1.82, 2.56) at age 6 years and 2.80 (2.42, 3.17) at age 9 years. The mean number of streets crossed for boys (2.57 (2.15, 2.98)) was similar to that for girls (2.38 (2.05, 2.72)). The mean number of streets crossed by Pacific Island children was 4.87 (4.01, 5.73), more than twice the number crossed by children of predominantly European origin (1.90 (1.65, 2.15)). Children from families without a car crossed an average of 5.34 (4.35, 6.34) streets, compared with 2.90 (2.50, 3.31) streets for children from families with one car, and 1.97 (1.65, 2.29) streets for children from families with two or more cars. CONCLUSION: There are large differences in pedistrian exposure to risk in relation to ethnic group and levels of car ownership. These differences may explain ethnic and socioeconomic differentials in child pedestrian injury rates.
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