Children Of Single Parent Families Have More Accidents, More Home Visits And Less Immunization

May 22, 1998

(Morbidity and healthcare utilisation of children in households with one adult: comparative observational study)

Changes in lifestyles over recent years have resulted in a rapidly increasing number of children brought up in single parent households (numbers have increased fivefold from 1961 to 1994). In 1991, nearly a fifth of children were living in a one parent family, mostly with their mother.

In a paper in this week's BMJ Douglas Fleming from the Royal College of General Practitioners and John Charlton from the Office for National Statistics found that children in households with one adult, visit their doctor more frequently and receive more home visits. Of particular concern is that they reported more accidents and the children received less immunisations. They observe that when there is no-one with whom to share the responsibility of bringing up a child, obtaining appropriate health care can be more difficult.

Fleming and Charlton conclude that these children need to be targeted by GPs and other primary healthcare workers to reduce the risk of accidents and ensure adequate immunisation.

Contact:

Dr Douglas Fleming, Director, Birmingham Research Unit, Royal College of General Practitioners, Birmingham Bill@rcgp-bru.demon.co.uk
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BMJ

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