New report sheds light on self-harming in children

Injured child with paramedics. | Newsreel
Child injury rates and causes are outlined in a new report. | Photo: Paul Bradbury (IStock)

Boys are more likely than girls to be hospitalised because of injury in all, except one, sobering instance.

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed that girls are five times more likely than boys to be hospitalised for intentional self-harm.

The report highlighted that of 13 reasons a child under the age of 18 may be hospitalised because of injury, boys were the most likely to be victims in 12 areas.

These included instances of assault, falls, choking, drowning and accidental poisoning.

However, when it came to cases of intentional self-harm, out of every 100,000 hospitalisations, 189 were girls and 36 were boys.

The AIHW said injuries were the leading cause of disability and death among Australian children and adolescents and at least a quarter of all emergency department presentations during childhood were injury-related.

It said injuries could be unintentional (falls, road crashes, drowning, burns) or intentional (self harm, violence, assault).

The AIHW report detailed injuries Australian children and adolescents sustained in the year from July 2021 to June 2022.

It also found children aged 1–4 years were most likely to present to an emergency department with injuries, while adolescents aged 16–18 years were most likely to be admitted to hospital for injuries.

The fact that boys were more likely to be hospitalised for injuries than girls continued into adulthood and falls were the leading cause of childhood injury, accounting for one in three child injury hospitalisations.

Read the full report