Majority Of Child Injuries Result From Slips, Trips, Ffalls

Armine Hareyan's picture

A new national study finds kids are being hurt in bathtubs and showers at a surprising rate. You might think scalding or near drownings would be the most common threat in the bathroom, but they're not.

Experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital say slips and falls are far more common, sending more than 43,000 kids a year to the emergency department. That's an average of 120 kids every day who are hurt in the tub or shower.* In most cases, parents are watching their kids, but it doesn't matter.

"Unfortunately, adult supervision isn't enough to prevent these injuries, they happen so quickly that a parent simply can't react quickly enough to prevent them. Therefore it is important to prevent them from happening by using a slip resistant mat inside and outside the bath and shower," says Gary Smith, MD, with Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy.

Smith suggests installing support bars so kids can hold onto them when getting in and out of the tub and shower. Also make sure there are no sharp edges they can fall against.

In the study publishing in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers say most injuries occur to children under age 4, and most often to the face.

"That is because young children, the ones typically injured in bathtubs and showers, they tend topple forward, they have a high center of gravity, and they tend to strike their head and their face, and that ends up with injures such as lacerations," says Smith.

Experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital are calling on manufacturers to use more slip-resistant materials when making bathtubs and showers. They say that could cut the number of injuries significantly.

*Source: Injuries Associated with Bathtubs and Showers Among Children in the United States, Pediatrics, Volume 124, Number 2, August 2009.

By Nationwide Children's Hospital

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