Golf cart injuries continue to rise among American children – Consumer Health News

TUESDAY, Oct. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Golf carts aren’t just for golf anymore: They’re also abound in retirement communities, on farms, and at sporting and other events.

But the downside to this newfound popularity could be that a growing number of children and teenagers are injured by shopping carts each year, according to a new study.

A research team from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that more than 63,500 childhood injuries in the United States occurred between 2010 and 2019, or about 6,500 per year in recent years.

More than half of those injuries occurred to children 12 and under, who aren’t even of legal age to drive most other vehicles.

“The vision for this work is that we’re just raising awareness. We’re trying to be advocates for children,” said Dr. Theodore Ganley, director of CHOP’s Medicine and Performance Center and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Orthopedics Section. . . “If everyone is aware of the risks that golf carts can pose not only to teenagers and teenagers, but also to tweens, in the future, perhaps preventive measures can be instituted.

“The fact that these are children under 12 surprises me. We believe the drivers are 16. Now they could be passengers there. It could be a sibling or of an older sister or parent who drives,” Ganley said.

The researchers used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, finding that 50.8% of injuries occurred in those 12 and under, with an average age of the population of 11.7.

At the start of the study period, there were approximately 5,490 childhood injuries each year while using golf carts, which increased to more than 6,500 in each of the last three study years.

The greatest number of injuries occurred at school or at sporting events.

Boys were more frequently injured than girls. Most injuries were superficial. Fractures and dislocations were the second most common type of injury. The majority of injuries were to the head or neck.

Most of the injured were treated and released to hospitals or medical centers.

“Sometimes we treat more minor fractures, but sometimes we treat more serious fractures. Some of these golf carts tip over, which also leads to more serious injuries,” Ganley said.

Golf courses themselves may have conditions that can present hazards. Steep hills and wet grass can be a challenge, Ganley noted. Driver and racer inexperience is also a factor.

“I think when it comes to motor vehicles – cars and trucks – there are very specific guidelines. Roads can only be created at a certain grade or inclination, and so there are very strict criteria in this country on how we have to build a road in this certain way,” Ganley explained.

The study called for consideration of improved safety guidelines and regulations for golf carts.

“I’m not here to say that no pediatric patient should ever be on a golf cart or drive a golf cart. I just think we should probably be more careful about monitoring, and more children are younger, the more they should be supervised,” Ganley said, “and even not just as drivers, but passengers.”

The research was presented Saturday at the virtual annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Results presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Parents should know the regulations for golf carts in their state and follow them, establishing the same kinds of ground rules for safety as for children on bikes, said Dr. Lois Lee, senior medical associate at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

“I think it’s important first that people realize, of course, that golf carts aren’t just little toy cars,” said Lee, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Parents should be mindful of who is driving the golf cart, especially when there are other children in the golf cart.”

More serious fractures and dislocations can lead to long-term complications, Lee said, and it’s important to remember that children can also sustain head injuries from falling off golf carts.

“I think just doing the research is important and it will educate parents to just remind them that this is a motor vehicle, even if it is a slow moving vehicle. , and so with all things, proper supervision and safety instructions must be explained to children going up there,” Lee said.

More information

National Children’s Hospital Offerings Golf Cart Safety Tips.

SOURCES: Theodore Ganley, MD, director, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Medicine and Performance Center, and chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Orthopedics; Lois Lee, MD, associate professor, pediatrics and emergency medicine, Harvard Medical School, and senior associate, medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; American Academy of Pediatrics, virtual annual meeting, presentation, October 9, 2021