Researchers call for children to wear helmets around horses

April 7, 2017, University of Queensland
Researchers call for children to wear helmets around horses
About 85 per cent of patients with horse-related trauma were female, and more than a third of injuries involved children aged 12 to 14 years. Credit: University of Queensland

A new study has recommended helmets should always be worn by children not only when riding horses but also when around horses, to reduce the risk of head injuries.

The research conducted by The University of Queensland's Centre for Children's Burns and Trauma Research Group is one of few recent comprehensive studies of paediatric horse-related trauma in Australia.

Lead author Dr Jane Theodore said the paper examined six years of data from patients with horse-related injuries at the Royal Children's Hospital, which was Queensland's only tertiary paediatric trauma at the time.

"We looked at 187 incidents in children aged up to 16 years, and most resulted from falls while riding horses," Dr Theodore said.

"Traumatic brain was the most common injury sustained, with riders who wore helmets having significantly less severe traumatic brain injuries and shorter stays in hospital compared with those who did not."

Dr Theodore said there were more than 40 cases where children suffered non-riding injuries.

"In this group the majority were not wearing helmets, and of these more than a third sustained a traumatic brain injury.

"Children who undertake activities while handling horses, such as grooming, can be injured by horse kicks, being knocked down or trampled.

"Wearing a helmet in these instances may reduce the risk of acquiring a more severe ."

About 85 per cent of patients with horse-related were female, and more than a third of injuries involved aged from 12 to 14 years.

There were three deaths, and more than seven per cent of patients suffered permanent injuries to their , eyes, face and limbs.

Horse-related injuries tended to occur at home or other private residences, predominantly near metropolitan and regional locations.

Dr Theodore, who is now working within the Department of Surgery at Redcliffe Hospital, said the study also revealed the need for a horse-related injury pro forma in hospital emergency.

"This would prompt health professionals to record whether or not patients were wearing safety gear, such as helmets or body protectors," she said.

"The data could be used for future studies on horse-related injury prevention in the paediatric population."

The Centre for Children's Burns and Trauma Research Group is part of The University of Queensland's Child Health Research Centre.

The study is published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Explore further: Research finds ski helmets lessens severity of injuries

More information: Jane E Theodore et al. Paediatric horse-related trauma, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (2017). DOI: 10.1111/jpc.13471

Related Stories

Research finds ski helmets lessens severity of injuries

February 27, 2017
New research from Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado) focused on helmet safety and injury prevention among young skiers and snowboarders. The research found that children who wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding ...

Study could lead to better treatment for child brain injuries

June 26, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The discovery of a new link between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain and children with traumatic brain injuries could lead to better treatment methods, according to a new study.

Older patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries less likely to get surgery

July 6, 2015
Older patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries are less likely to receive surgery compared with younger patients and they experience a significant lag between injury and surgery, according to new research by an orthopedic ...

Universal helmet laws may help save young motorcyclists

October 29, 2014
(HealthDay)—A new study suggests that state laws requiring "universal" motorcycle helmet use—instead of helmet laws just for certain ages—may lower the rates of traumatic brain injuries in young riders.

Study looks at sports-related facial fractures in kids

May 29, 2013
Facial fractures are relatively common, and potentially serious, sports-related injuries among children participating in a wide range of sports, according to a study in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Recommended for you

The effects of happiness and sadness on children's snack consumption

February 19, 2018
A University of Texas at Dallas psychologist has examined the preconceptions about the effects of emotions on children's eating habits, creating the framework for future studies of how dietary patterns evolve in early childhood.

Cycle of infant reflux signals a call to help mothers

February 14, 2018
Western Sydney University research has found that first-time mothers with mental health issues – in particular, maternal anxiety – are five times as likely to have their baby noted as having reflux when admitted to hospital.

Safe-sleep recommendations for infants have not reduced sudden deaths in newborns

February 14, 2018
An analysis of trends in sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) over the past two decades finds that the drop in such deaths that took place following release of the 1992 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) "back to sleep" ...

Most children with sickle cell anemia not receiving key medication to stay healthy

February 13, 2018
One of the greatest health threats to children with sickle cell anemia is getting a dangerous bacterial infection—but most are not receiving a key medication to reduce the risk, a new study suggests.

Premature babies' low blood pressure puzzle explained

February 13, 2018
Scientists have discovered crucial new information about how a foetus develops which could explain why very premature babies suffer low blood pressure and other health problems.

Babies face higher SIDS risk in certain states

February 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) claims the lives of some 3,500 babies in the United States each year, but its toll is far heavier in some states than others, health officials report.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.