Thousands of Children Treated for Sledding Injuries Yearly

10- to 14-year-olds account for 42.5 percent of injuries; head most commonly injured body part

MONDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- From 1997 to 2007, an average of more than 20,000 children and adolescents per year were treated in U.S. emergency departments for sledding-related injuries, according to research published online Aug. 23 in Pediatrics.

Candace A. Howell, M.D., of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues estimated the rates of sledding-related injuries among children and adolescents treated in U.S. emergency departments between 1997 and 2007 using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database.

The researchers found that an estimated 229,023 patients aged 19 years and younger were treated for sledding-related injuries in U.S. emergency departments between 1997 and 2007, for an average of 20,820 cases per year. A total of 4.1 percent of cases required hospitalization. Children aged 10 to 14 years accounted for 42.5 percent of sledding-related injuries, with boys representing 59.8 percent of all cases. Fractures were the most common injury diagnoses (26.3 percent), followed by contusions and abrasions (25 percent), with the head the most frequently injured body part (34.1 percent). Traumatic brain injuries happened more often with snow tubes than other sled types.

"The large proportion of head injuries, specifically traumatic brain injuries, found in our study suggests that the use of helmets while sledding warrants consideration," the authors write.

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