Bicycle-related injuries send 25 children to emergency departments every hour

June 26, 2018, Nationwide Children's Hospital
To ensure a proper fit, there should be the width of two fingers between a child's eyebrows and the edge of a bicycle helmet. Credit: Nationwide Children's Hospital

A new study conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital investigated bicycle-related injuries among children treated in hospital emergency departments in the United States and found that despite a decrease in the rate of injuries over the 10-year study period, there were still more than 2.2 million injuries. The study, published online in Accident Analysis & Prevention, found that from January 2006 through December 2015, more than 2.2 million children age 5-17 years were treated in US hospital emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries. This averages 608 cases per day or 25 every hour.

The majority of injuries involved children 10 to 14 years of age (46%) and boys (72%). The most commonly injured body region was the upper extremities (36%), followed by the lower extremities (25%), face (15%), and head and neck (15%). The most common types of injury were bruises and scrapes (29%) and cuts (23%). Overall, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) represented 11% of total injuries and were most common among patients 10-14 years of age (44%). About 4% of patients were hospitalized.

Injuries most frequently occurred in the street (48%) or at home (37%). Helmet use at the time of injury was associated with a lower likelihood of head and neck injuries and hospitalizations, but there was no significant change in the rate of injury among helmet users over the study period. Motor vehicle involvement increased the odds of bicycle-related TBIs and -related hospitalizations.

"Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the best way to decrease the risk of serious injuries," said Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy and senior author of the study. "We want parents and kids to keep riding their bikes, but it's important for all riders to wear a helmet. Take your children shopping for bike helmets so you can find ones that fit them and they can choose a style they like. They will be more likely to want to wear it." Bicycle helmet laws have been effective in increasing helmet use among children, but fewer than half the states in the US have laws and they are not always enforced.

Credit: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Since bicycling is one of the primary modes of transportation for children, it is imperative to make roads safer for and decrease bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. Proven prevention efforts include "Share the Road" campaigns, increasing bicyclist visibility with bright reflective materials, creating cycling lanes on the road and providing bicycling education courses.

Explore further: Increased helmet use in alpine sports fails to reduce risk of traumatic brain injury

Related Stories

Increased helmet use in alpine sports fails to reduce risk of traumatic brain injury

June 14, 2018
Head injury is the leading cause of death and catastrophic injury among skiers and snowboarders and accounts for three to 15 percent of winter sports-related injuries. Helmet use is increasingly encouraged at ski resorts, ...

UAlberta expert dispels 5 persistent myths about helmet use

May 14, 2018
Helmets would be required by law for all Albertans using any equipment that moves at significant velocity—regardless of age—in an ideal world, contends Don Voaklander, director of the Injury Prevention Centre in the University ...

Too many parents say no to helmets for kids on wheels

May 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—Injuries from cycling or other wheeled activities send over 400,000 kids to U.S. emergency rooms each year. Yet, many parents don't require their children to wear helmets or other safety gear, researchers say.

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 ...

Only 11 percent of children involved in bike accidents wear a helmet

October 26, 2013
Despite a California bike helmet mandate, only 11 percent of Los Angeles County children treated for bike-related injuries were wearing a helmet, according to an abstract presented Oct. 26 at the American Academy of Pediatrics ...

Recommended for you

Fatty acids can slow down an overheated immune system

September 21, 2018
Sometimes, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's healthy tissue by responding to infections that do not exist. This causes chronic inflammation and leads to diseases including lupus (SLE), and this is what happens ...

Patient-centered visual aid helps physicians discuss risks, treatments with parents

September 21, 2018
A series of illustrations and charts designed as decision aids for parents of children with minor head injuries helped them communicate with emergency medicine physicians and make informed decisions about their child's care, ...

Study shows surprise low-level ozone impact on asthma patients

September 21, 2018
A new study led by UNC School of Medicine researchers indicates that ozone has a greater impact on asthma patients than previously thought. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, recruited ...

Fish-rich diets may boost babies' brain development

September 20, 2018
Women could enhance the development of their unborn child's eyesight and brain function by regularly eating fatty fish during pregnancy. This is the suggestion from a small-scale study led by Kirsi Laitinen of the University ...

Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors

September 20, 2018
Pediatric brain tumors are characterized by frequent complications due to intractable epilepsy compared to adult brain tumors. However, the genetic cause of refractory epilepsy in pediatric brain cancer has not been elucidated ...

3-D-printed tracheal splints used in groundbreaking pediatric surgery

September 19, 2018
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has performed Georgia's first-ever procedure to place 3-D-printed tracheal splints in a pediatric patient. A cross-functional team of Children's surgeons used three custom-made splints, which ...

0 comments

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.