ORLANDO, Fla. — Only 11% of children involved in bicycle-related accidents in California were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, despite a bike helmet mandate, according to study findings presented here.
“Children and adolescents have the highest rate of unintentional injury and, therefore, should be a high priority target population for injury-prevention programs,” Veronica F. Sullins, MD, of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said in a press release.
Veronica F. Sullins
The study included 1,248 pediatric patients (median age, 13 years; 85% male) from the Los Angeles County database who were involved in bicycle-related accidents from 2006 to 2011. Helmet use was evaluated as related to age, sex, insurance status and race/ethnicity.
Researchers found that 35.2% of white patients wore helmets; followed by Asians (7%), blacks (6%), and Hispanics (4.2%). More patients with private insurance (15.2%) wore helmets compared with public or no insurance (7.6%). Children aged 12 years and older were less likely to wear helmets (OR=0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9) compared with younger children.
Emergency surgery was required for 5.9% of patients and 34.1% returned to pre-injury capacity. There was a 0.7% mortality rate, accounting for nine patients, eight of whom did not wear a helmet. Median length of hospital stay was 2 days, and median injury severity score was 5.
“As clinicians we need to identify high-risk groups of patients specific to our city or region and ensure that parents and caregivers are taking an active role in promoting behaviors that will maximize injury prevention in children,” Sullins told Infectious Diseases in Children.
Veronia F. Sullins, MD, can be reached at Division of Pediatric Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 West Carson Street, Box 25, Building 1-E, Torrance, CA 90509; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information:
Sullins VF. Abstract #21869. Presented at: AAP National Conference and Exhibition; Oct. 26-29, 2013; Orlando, Fla.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.