Despite a decrease in the injury rate over the 10-year study period, there were still 2.2 million bicycle-related injuries among children age 5 to 17 years.

Published online in Accident Analysis & Prevention, the study—conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital—found that from January 2006 through December 2015, more than 2.2 million children age 5 to 17 years were treated in US hospital emergency departments (EDs) for bicycle-related injuries. This averages to 608 cases per day, or 25 every hour, according to a media release from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The majority of injuries involved children 10 to 14 years of age (46%) and boys (72%). The most commonly injured body region was the upper extremities (36%), followed by the lower extremities (25%), face (15%), and head and neck (15%). The most common types of injury were bruises and scrapes (29%) and cuts (23%).

Overall, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) represented 11% of total injuries and were most common among patients 10 to 14 years of age (44%). About 4% of patients were hospitalized.

Injuries most frequently occurred in the street (48%) or at home (37%). Helmet use at the time of injury was associated with a lower likelihood of head and neck injuries and hospitalizations, but there was no significant change in the rate of injury among helmet users over the study period. Motor vehicle involvement increased the odds of bicycle-related TBIs and injury-related hospitalizations.

The study highlights the need for bicycle safety and helmet use among children, according to the release.

“Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the best way to decrease the risk of serious injuries,” says Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy and senior author of the study.

“We want parents and kids to keep riding their bikes, but it’s important for all riders to wear a helmet. Take your children shopping for bike helmets so you can find ones that fit them and they can choose a style they like. They will be more likely to want to wear it,” she adds.

[Source(s): Nationwide Children’s Hospital, EurekAlert]