Stair-Related Injuries in Young Children Declining

But stairs still an important source of injury among children in the United States

MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Stair-related injuries among young children have been on the decline for the last decade or so in the United States but are still an important source of injury, according to a study published online March 12 in Pediatrics.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1999 through 2008, Ashley E. Zielinski, and colleagues from The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed the characteristics of stair-related injuries among children younger than five years old treated in emergency departments in the United States.

The researchers estimate that, from 1999 to 2008, a total of 931,886 children were treated for stair-related injuries. The number of injuries per year fell significantly, by 11.6 percent, and the rate of injury also fell significantly, from 53.0 to 42.4 per 10,000 population. Injuries occurred to soft tissue in 34.6 percent of cases and to the head and neck region in 76.3 percent of cases. Hospitalization was needed for 2.7 percent of children. About a quarter (24.5 percent) of injuries among children younger than 1 year occurred when the children were being carried, and children injured this way were more than three times more likely to be hospitalized.

"Stair-related injuries are on the decline but still represent an important source of injury to young children," Zielinski and colleagues conclude. "Increased prevention efforts are needed, including parental education and improved stairway design, to decrease stair-related injuries among young children."

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