Spotlight on bicycle safety

November 7, 2008

Even as the weather cools around the country and less kids are participating in outdoor activities, recent findings published online in Clinical Pediatrics serve as a reminder that bicycle-related safety is crucial.

Even as the weather cools around the country and less kids are participating in outdoor activities, recent findings published online in Clinical Pediatrics serve as a reminder that bicycle-related safety is crucial.

The study found that among children and adolescents, the number of bicycle-related injuries has decreased slightly over the 16-year period. However, an estimated 389,300 were treated in emergency departments each year between 1990 and 2005 for injuries, or an average of 850 children and adolescents a day.

Other findings included:

  • The most common injuries were contusions and abrasions (30%), lacerations (30%), and fractures (19%). The most frequently injured parts of the body were the upper and lower extremities, followed by face and head injuries.

  • Some of the most serious injuries involved the head; nearly 40,000 children and adolescents were treated for bicycle-related head injuries in 2005. Children with these kinds of injuries were more than three times as likely to require hospitalization and nearly six times as likely to have their injury result in death compared to children with bicycle-related injuries to other parts othe body.

  • Boys experienced a higher rate of injury than did girls (7.24 versus 3.23 injuries per 1,000 children). Boys accounted for 70% of all injuries. Boys ages 10 through 14 had the highest rate of bicyce-related injuries, while girls ages 15 through 18 had the lowest.

The researchers noted that automobiles are the only consumer product linked to more childhood injuries than bicycles. Data for the study were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, operated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.