Childhood Injuries on Holidays Often Not Holiday-Specific

Injuries requiring emergency room treatment usually associated with everyday activities
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Among teens and children, most injuries requiring emergency-department care that occur on holidays are associated with general activities rather than holiday-specific activities, according to research published online April 5 in Pediatrics.

Anthony D'Ippolito, of the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System on injuries sustained by youths ages 19 and younger on or around major holidays from 1997 through 2006. All were treated in emergency departments.

According to the researchers, more than 5,710,999 such injuries occurred during this period. Labor Day was the holiday with the highest number of injuries, followed by Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Halloween. A higher proportion of injuries was seen in children younger than 5 years than in other age groups. Most injuries were classified as sports and recreation-related, but home structure-related and home furnishing-related injuries were also common. The head, face, and finger/hand were the most commonly injured body parts, and sprain/strains, fractures, contusion/abrasions, and lacerations were the most common diagnoses. Fireworks accounted for a small proportion (2.9 percent) of injuries around the Fourth of July, though such injuries were more likely to occur on this holiday than any other.

"There have traditionally been efforts by physicians, public health officials, and the media to emphasize preventing holiday-specific injuries; however, this study found that injuries that occur during holidays were more commonly associated with general rather than holiday-specific activities. Thus, we must not only work to prevent injuries that are specific to a given holiday but also continue efforts to prevent 'everyday' injuries," the authors conclude.

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