Bicycle Accidents Causing Child Visits to Emergency Departments

Child pulling out on a bicycle behind the rear of a red caravan.

Every Hour, 25 Children are Taken to an Emergency Department for Bicycle Accident Injuries, Study Says

Now that the weather is getting warmer and spring is here, many children are starting to think about taking their bicycles out of the garage and riding bikes with other children recreationally after school and on the weekends. While bicycling can be a source of great joy for kids, it can also be a source of serious and even fatal injuries when bicycle accidents occur.

According to a recent report in Study Finds, as many as 25 children may be rushed to emergency departments every hour in the U.S. as a result of bicycle accident injuries. To put that number in perspective, an average of more than 600 kids go to the  emergency room every day for bicycle-related injuries, or 4,200 per week. The study was published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

That data comes from a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) database, which was analyzed by a team of researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. The data came from emergency room visits that occurred between 2007 and 2015, during which time “more than 2.2-million children aged five to 17 were treated at an American hospital for injuries related to riding a bicycle.” Most bike injuries affected kids between the ages of 10 and 14, and the majority were boys. To be sure, boys account for more than 70% of children’s bicycle accident injuries that require treatment in an emergency room.

Were any of these bicycle injuries serious enough to require intensive emergency treatment? A majority of injuries affected the upper extremities (about 36% of all injuries), while  25% of child bicycle injuries affected lower extremities, 15% of injuries affected the face, and 15% of injuries affected the child’s head and/or neck. Bruises were the most common type of injury, but children also visited the emergency department to seek treatment for scrapes, cuts, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Of all the kids who sought treatment in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries, about 4% of them were hospitalized.

Safety Tips to Prevent Child Injuries on Bicycles

What can parents do to help keep their kids safe while they are riding a bike? The following are bicycle safety tips from

  • Children should always wear a helmet that fits properly;
  • Children should ride on the sidewalk wherever possible;
  • If there is no sidewalk for riding a bike, kids should ride in the same direction as traffic and as far to the right as possible;
  • Kids should learn hand signals, and should always use them;
  • Child bicyclists should engage in  predictable behavior by riding in a straight line and avoiding swerving between cars;
  • Always wear bright colors and use bicycle lights and reflectors;
  • Consider using reflectors on clothing whenever children are bicycling;
  • Avoid riding at night or early in the morning if possible; and
  • Parents should always ride with children whenever possible.

If your child was injured in a bicycle accident, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim with an injury lawyer. You should discuss your case with a bicycle accident personal injury lawyer.

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