Nav: Home

Timing of SNAP benefits can reduce childhood injuries

July 02, 2020

Syracuse, N.Y. - A new study published recently in "BMC Pediatrics" shows a connection between the time of the month when low-income families receive their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and the number of emergency room visits due to injuries to children from those families.

Childhood injuries are the leading cause of illness and death in the United States, resulting in an estimated 9.2 million emergency department visits and $17 billion in medical costs annually. For preschoolers, it is the leading cause of disability.

Researchers linked administrative data for SNAP and Medicaid in the state of Missouri from January 2010 to December 2013. They explored monthly patterns in the association between SNAP receipt and ER claims due to childhood injury for children age 0-5 and examined if these patterns are sensitive to the timing of SNAP benefits.

The result: Families that receive benefits later in the month have fewer ER visits, likely because they can afford to feed their families at the end of the calendar month when other resources run low.

The study, "BMC Pediatrics.
"Our study suggests that childhood injuries, the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States, can be reduced by disbursing SNAP benefits later in the month instead of at the beginning of the calendar month," Heflin said. "Previous work suggests that childhood injuries are associated with parenting practices and child behavior problems, which are also correlated with maternal stress and income.

"Simply put, low-income households may find it harder to avoid childhood injuries while coping with food insecurity," Heflin said. "This work provides one more to a long list of reasons it is important to support federal food assistance programs such as SNAP."

The researchers chose Missouri because unlike most states that disburse SNAP benefits within the first 10?days of the calendar month, Missouri pays SNAP benefits between the first 22 days of the month, based on the recipient's birthdate and last name.

The researchers said there is no evidence that childhood injuries connected to the timing of SNAP benefits are caused by parents.

"I think that food insecure parents are probably distracted by worrying about how to feed their families and not able to fully focus on their children who may be acting out because they are hungry," Heflin said. "It's more about how many things parents can juggle at one time in a home with food insecurity."

During March 2020, 27.3 million individuals in 19 million households received SNAP benefits. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allowed states greater flexibility in administering the program, the ability to provide an emergency supplement to benefits, and school meal replacement benefits to households with children. Many states were approved for these changes to their SNAP program through the end of June.
In addition to Heflin, the research team included

Syracuse University

Related Children Articles:

Black children with cancer three times less likely to receive proton radiotherapy than White children
A retrospective analysis led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has found racial disparities in the use of the therapy for patients enrolled in trials.
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: First Europe-wide study of children confirms COVID-19 predominately causes mild disease in children and fatalities are very rare
Children with COVID-19 generally experience a mild disease and fatalities are very rare, according to a study of 582 patients from across Europe published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
Children not immune to coronavirus; new study from pandemic epicenter describes severe COVID-19 response in children
- While most children infected with the novel coronavirus have mild symptoms, a subset requires hospitalization and a small number require intensive care.
How many children is enough?
Most Russians would like to have two children: a boy and a girl.
Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.
Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.
Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.
Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.
Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).
Children with autism are in 'in-tune' with mom's feelings like other children
New research addresses limitations of prior autism spectrum disorder (ASD) studies on facial emotion recognition by using five distinct facial emotions in unfamiliar and familiar (mom) faces to test the influence of familiarity in children with and without ASD.
More Children News and Children Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

How to Win Friends and Influence Baboons
Baboon troops. We all know they're hierarchical. There's the big brutish alpha male who rules with a hairy iron fist, and then there's everybody else. Which is what Meg Crofoot thought too, before she used GPS collars to track the movements of a troop of baboons for a whole month. What she and her team learned from this data gave them a whole new understanding of baboon troop dynamics, and, moment to moment, who really has the power.  This episode was reported and produced by Annie McEwen. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at