Characteristics of tricycle injuries identified

1. Lacerations, contusions, and fractures were common injuries sustained by tricycle riders.

2. The head was the most commonly injured body part, and the most vulnerable to internal organ damage.

Study Rating: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: While studies have thoroughly described bicycle injuries in children and suggested measures to increase rider safety, prior literature has not adequately described the type and extent of tricycle injuries in toddlers. Given that literature on bicycle injuries has led to preventive measures that have dramatically decreased adverse events, this current study attempted to similarly identify tricycle injuries to aid in prevention. After reviewing a national database of injuries requiring medical attention, researchers found that common types of tricycle injuries include lacerations, contusions, and fractures. The head was noted as the overall most frequently injured body part, with the elbow as the most commonly fractured body part. A small number of children had injuries severe enough to warrant hospitalization. No deaths were reported. Limitations of this study include its inability to identify whether the rider was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the presence of adult supervision, and no follow up data to elucidate injury severity. Despite these limitations, this study suggests a role for mandating helmet use in tricycle riders, and other supportive measures including tricycle speed attenuation devices, and mechanical changes to reduce likelihood of a tricycle tipping over.

Click to read the study in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Office Based Counseling for Unintentional Injury Prevention

In-Depth [retrospective observational study]: Researchers reviewed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2012-2013 to identify tricycle-related injuries. A total of 9340 injuries presenting to United States Emergency Departments over the course of 2 years were identified. Lacerations (28.2%) were the most common type of reported injury; other types of common injuries include contusions (21.0%), fractures (10.7%), and a miscellaneous group including sprains, strains, dislocations, and dental injuries (23.1%). The head was the most commonly injured body part, and most vulnerable to internal damage. When a fracture was present, the elbow was the most common site of injury. Approximately 2.4% of reported injuries were severe enough to warrant hospitalization.

Image: CC/Flickr/D Sharon Pruitt

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