Child injuries from non-motorized wheeled activities in Canada

This is the first known epidemiological study to use Canada-wide data to compare and describe child injury trends for non-motorized wheeled activities (i.e., cycling, skateboarding, inline skating and using a scooter), including helmet use.

In order to this, the authors analyzed injuries caused by all wheeled, non-motorized devices from CHIRPP for the years 2004 to 2009. CHIRPP is a national emergency department (ED) surveillance program that registers injury cases from 11 pediatric and 4 general Canadian hospital EDs in 13 municipalities across Canada.

Main Findings:

  • Most of the 28 618 children aged 1 to 16 years injured during non-motorized wheeled activities were injured while cycling, followed by skateboarding.
  • Most injuries occurred among boys.
  • Children injured on scooters tended to be younger whereas skateboarders were the oldest.
  • On average, the number of all injuries decreased by 6% over the time period. However, the number of injuries from using a scooter actually increased.
  • Falls were the most common mechanism of injury (82%–91%).
  • Superficial injuries (34%) and fractures (31.2%), and musculoskeletal (e.g., sprains) (20.7%) were the most common types of injury.
  • The most common types of fractures were elbow and forearm fractures (42.3%), followed by wrist and hand fractures (27.2%).
  • 8.3% of patients had head injuries, which were seen more often among cyclists than other wheeled-activity users.
  • Helmet use was greatest among cyclists (62.2%) and lowest among skateboarders (32.9%).
  • Injured patients presenting to EDs in jurisdictions with legislation mandating helmet use had 2.12 greater odds of helmet use and 0.86 lesser odds of head injury compared with those presenting in jurisdictions without helmet laws.

In conclusion:

  • These results provide further evidence that legislation mandating helmet use may be an effective way of reducing injury among all wheeled-activity users.
  • The small number of patients who presented with helmet use and protective gear (59.4% overall) suggests that this remains an area for intervention.
 Click here for a cull copy of the study.

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