HEADLINES Published September15, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

Little Kids on Tricycles Need Protection, too, study says

(Photo : Hulton Archive, Getty Images)

Small children who ride tricycles may need helmets, elbow pads, and a parent watching more closely. Tricycle injuries often involve head wounds, elbow fractures or other upper body damage, according to a study.

To assess the types of injuries linked to tricycle rides, Sean Bandzar and colleagues at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta analyzed data from 328 tricycle injuries reported to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System by participating hospitals in 2012 and 2013.The most common type of injury for little kids riding tricycles were lacerations. Of the injuries serious enough for a child to be taken to an emergency room, only 2.4% required a hospital admission, researchers estimated based on 2 years of data.

But the researchers also estimated that about 30% of injuries were to the head and another 8% were to the elbow, which may mean that some kids might need more or better quality protective gear.

In the cases reported to the surveillance system, the injured children were an average of 3 years old. Patients between the ages of 1 and 2 years represented slightly more than half of the cases, the study found. Boys accounted for almost two out of three accidents. About 72% of the injuries with data on the accident location happened at home.

Extrapolating from these numbers, they estimated that there were about 9,340 injuries nationwide during the 2-year study period. This total would mean an estimated 2,767 injuries to the head, 767 to the elbow, 1,880 accidents that damaged the face, 954 injuries to the mouth, and 483 injuries to the lower arms, they said.

However, the authors acknowledge that they lacked data on how accidents happened, whether the children were wearing helmets or other protective gear, what types of tricycles they rode and whether adults were present when the injuries occurred.

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