- AIMS: To compare fracture rates in European districts. SETTING: Geographically defined areas of Wales (Swansea and Neath Port Talbot), Norway (Harstad, Trondheim, Stavanger, and Drammen), Sweden (Jamtlands), and Finland (Porvoo). METHODS: Surveillance of fractures at emergency departments and hospitals and linkage with population data. Comparison of age adjusted and crude rates. Calculation of confidence intervals for ratios. RESULTS: A total of 4113 fractures occurred in 167 560 children during 1996. Fracture rates in south Wales (36 per 1000) were substantially higher than in Scandinavian districts (which were similar). Limiting analysis to the most severe injuries to correct for the possibility of ascertainment bias reduced some of the excess rate in Wales: the Welsh:Scandinavian fracture ratio was 1.82 (95% confidence interval: 1.64 to 2.03). CONCLUSIONS: Fracture rates in Welsh children are substantially higher than in Scandinavian children.