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More U.S. child bike injuries than thought

Oct. 17, 2007 at 6:53 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Bicycle-related injuries of U.S. children and teens are a more significant public health concern than previously estimated, a study found.

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus estimated that approximately 10,700 U.S. children are hospitalized annually for a bicycle-related injury -- with an average length of stay of three days costing some $200 million.

One of the study authors, Dr. Gary Smith, said motor vehicles were involved in approximately 30 percent of bicycle-related hospitalizations with the association with motor vehicles increased among older children.

The study, published in the journal Injury Prevention, one-third of children hospitalized for a bicycle-related injury were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.

"Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile," Smith said in a statement. "We know that bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by up to 85 percent -- we need to increase efforts to promote helmet use by children riding bicycles."

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