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Golf Cart-Related Injuries Have Soared Since 1990

Researchers urge American Academy of Pediatrics to issue new guidelines on golf carts

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Since 1990, the number of golf cart-related injuries has steadily increased, and the high rate of injuries among children suggests that new guidelines are needed, according to a report published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Daniel S. Watson, of The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues assessed 1990-2006 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System on all cases of non-fatal golf cart-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments.

The researchers estimated that 147,696 injuries occurred during the study period and that children under age 16 accounted for 31.2 percent of them. The investigators identified falls from golf carts as the most common cause of injury (38.3 percent), soft tissue damage as the most common type of injury (47.7 percent), and found that 7.8 percent of injuries required hospitalization. Between 1990 and 2006, they estimated that the number of injuries increased by 132.3 percent.

"While the American Academy of Pediatrics does not currently have a policy statement on golf cart use for children, it does recommend that (1) children aged under 6 years not ride in vehicles similar to golf carts, such as ATVs, riding lawn mowers, and snowmobiles; and (2) children aged under 16 should not be allowed to operate these vehicles. Based on these recommendations and the finding from this study that children aged under 16 years account for almost one-third of golf cart-related injuries, these guidelines should be considered for golf carts as well," the authors state.

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