Health

Tricycle injuries steer young children to ER

The head is the most frequently injured body part in tricycle-related injuries, a U.S. study of emergency room visits suggests.

Most children don't have the balance or co-ordination to ride a tricycle until around age 3

Caleb, 2, tries out a used tricycle during a sale. The most common type of injury associated with tricycles is a skin gash, usually on the face, U.S. pediatricians say. (Gabriel Christus/Loveland Reporter-Herald/Associated Press)

The head is the most frequently injured body part in tricycle-related injuries, a U.S. study of emergency room visits suggests.

There's little research publicly available on tricycle-related injuries among children, say pediatricians. To learn more, they examined data from an injury surveillance database in the U.S. from 2012 to 2013.

During that time, the researchers estimated 9,340 tricycle-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments during that time. Patients between the ages of 1 and 2 represented nearly 52 per cent of all injuries.

Other findings included:

  • The head is the most frequently injured body part in children riding tricycles.
  • Less than 3 per cent of the children had to be hospitalized, but they had serious injuries including limb amputations, fractures and internal organ damage.
  • Internal organ damage was the most common type of injury in 3- and 5-year-olds.
  • Injuries were slightly more common among young boys.
  • The most common type of injury associated with tricycles is a laceration or skin gash, usually on the face.
  • Elbows were the most likely body part to fracture in a tricycle accident.

"This study highlights the importance of helmet and elbow pad use and parental supervision," Dr. Stephen Pitts of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., and his co-authors said in Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study did not include details about how the injuries occurred, such as losing control of the tricycle or hitting an object.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, which publishes the journal, says most children don't have the balance or co-ordination to ride a tricycle until around age 3.

With files from The Associated Press

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