Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
Date of Defense:
June 16, 2014
INTRODUCTION: Head injuries are the leading cause of death among cyclists, 85% of which can be prevented by wearing a bicycle helmet. This study aims to estimate the incidence of pediatric bicycle – related injuries in Olmsted County and assess differences in injuries between those wearing helmets versus not.
METHODOLOGY: Olmsted County, Minnesota residents 5 to 18 years of age with a diagnosis of accident involving a bicycle between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2011, were identified. Incidence rates were calculated and standardized to the age and sex distribution of the 2000 US white population.
RESULTS: A total of 1,189 bicycle injuries were identified. The overall age – adjusted incidence rate of all injuries was 278 (95% CI, 249 to 306) per 100,000 person – years for females and 589 (95% CI, 549 to 629) for males. The corresponding rates for head injuries were 104 (95% CI, 87 to 121) for females and 255 (95% CI, 229 to 281) for males. Of patients with head injuries 17.4% were documented to have been wearing a helmet, 44.8% were documented not wearing a helmet and 37.8% had no helmet use documentation. Patients with a head injury who were documented as not wearing a helmet were significantly more likely to undergo imaging of the head (32.1% vs. 11.5%; p<0.001) and to experience a brain injury (28.1% vs. 13.8%; p=0.008) compared to those wearing a helmet.
CONCLUSION: Children and adolescents continue to ride bicycles without wearing helmets, resulting in severe head and facial injuries and mortality.