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Frequent Moves During Babies’ First Year Associated with Hospitalizations

Frequent Moves During Babies’ First Year Associated with Hospitalizations

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Children who move from one residence to another during their first year of life are at a substantially higher risk of being admitted to a hospital emergency room in early childhood, according to a new U.K. study that examined data on more than 237,000 children.

The study, “Residential Moving and PreventableHospitalizations,” to  followed children born in Wales between April 1999 and December 2008.
The percentage of children between ages 1 and 5 who were admitted to a hospital emergency department went up as the frequency of residential moves increased. More than 16 percent of children who moved two or more times during their first year were admitted to hospitals, compared with less than 14 percent of those who did not change residences. The increased hospitalizations persisted for some health problems even when researchers accommodated for other risk factors. The findings concur with U.S. and Canadian studies that found that children who had frequently moved home in childhood were less likely to have a regular site for health care and were more likely to use emergency department services. One limitation of the study is that the data did not provide information regarding the reasons for moving. The move itself may directly result in severed links with health professionals; increased stress; or because moving to unfamiliar surroundings presents an increased injury risk.
The study authors conclude that further research is needed on the potential benefits of enhancing health and social support services, educating parents about safety risks and improving housing quality.
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