FRIDAY, Sept. 21, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who are Tasered do not appear to be at higher risk for serious injury than adults, a new study contends.
Researchers reviewed more than 2,000 Taser uses by police and found that nearly 5 percent were against suspects aged 13 to 17. Most were Tasered in incidents involving assault, civil disturbance and robbery and burglary.
No major differences were found between teens and adults in injury rates or types of injuries, according to the researchers from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"We were looking closely for increased risk of cardiac effects and bodily injuries because of the differing body size and build of adolescents, but there were no significant injuries reported for this age group," study lead author Dr. Alison Gardner, assistant professor of emergency medicine, said in a medical center news release.
"There were 20 mild injuries recorded and the majority of these were expected superficial puncture wounds from the weapons' probes," she added.
The study, published in the September issue of the journal Pediatric Emergency Care, is the first to specifically investigate Taser use on teens, according to the release.
Gardner noted that the average age (16), weight (168 pounds) and height (5 feet 8 inches) of the teens in this study shows that Tasers tend to be used on teens who are larger and older. This suggests that police are using Tasers in situations where physical apprehension is not easy, unlike with smaller and younger teens.
A Taser, or stun gun, is an electroshock weapon.
Amnesty International wants tighter rules on Taser use.