Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Stair-Related Injuries a Threat to Preschoolers: Study

Stair-Related Injuries a Threat to Preschoolers: Study

03/12/12

MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Every six minutes, a child under the age of 5 is treated in the ER for a stair-related injury, new U.S. research shows.

The study found that from 1999 to 2008, more than 931,000 children arrived in hospital emergency rooms with such injuries.

And those younger than 1 who are carried on stairs seem especially prone to getting hurt.

There is, however, some good news in the report: The annual injury rate did, in fact, drop during the course of the research.

"We can be happy that the numbers are going down, but it's still a very common source of injury," said study co-author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The study appears online and in the April print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

In the 1990s, Smith and his colleagues warned about the hazards of "baby walkers," wheeled walkers that could send babies tumbling down stairs. Manufacturers redesigned the walkers so they'd come to a halt at the top of a stairwell, Smith said.

For the new study, the researchers decided to take a wider look at stair-related injuries. "We wanted to get some up-to-date information, so we could give information to parents about the hazards and come up with some new strategies," Smith explained.

The study authors used government data from about 100 hospitals to estimate the number of emergency room visits that were due to stair-related injuries.

They found that about three-quarters of the injuries were to the head and neck, and almost 3 percent of the kids injured had to be hospitalized.

Kids under the age of 5 "have a high center of gravity, up around their chest, not near the waist like in adults," Smith said. "They tend to topple forward and usually don't have the upper body strength to break their fall. They typically injure their face, head and neck."

Among injured kids under the age of 1, 25 percent were hurt while being carried. Overall, kids who were injured while being carried were more than three times as likely as other injured kids to need to be hospitalized.

Why so many injuries in kids who were being carried? "We're in this multitasking world where we're trying to do a lot of things," Smith said. "Parents need to resist that temptation."

If parents do need to carry a child on stairs, they should use one hand free to steady themselves on the handrail, he said, "or leave the child in the crib."

Overall, the number of stair-related injuries per year fell by almost 12 percent from 1999 to 2008.

To prevent children from falling on stairs, University of Pittsburgh pediatrician and assistant professor Dr. Sonika Bhatnagar recommended that parents keep kids away from stairs when possible, keep stairs free of objects, don't use them with a stroller, don't use baby walkers and don't allow kids to play on or around stairs.

Study co-author Smith said many stairs aren't designed to prevent injuries, and Bhatnagar agreed. She said building codes should allow wall-mounted gates on stairs to keep kids off them (some stairways aren't designed to allow their use) and encourage handrails that allow easy gripping. Other stairway design features can improve safety, too, she said.

More information

For more about injuries, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse First in Area to Perform Single-Site Hysterectomy
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >