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Kids break fewer bones during pandemic, but fractures at home rise

By HealthDay News
Kids break fewer bones during pandemic, but fractures at home rise
The shift in causes of fractures is due to parents seeking other recreational activities for their children during the pandemic. Photo by Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

There's been a nearly 60 percent drop in broken bones among U.S. children during the coronavirus pandemic, but the rate of fractures that occur at home has climbed, a new study finds.

The researchers analyzed data on 1,735 youngsters treated for acute fractures at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) between March 15 and April 15, and compared that data with the same time period in 2018 and 2019.

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There was a nearly 2.5-fold decline in the number of daily fracture cases during the coronavirus pandemic, compared with the two previous years, the investigators found.

There was a particularly sharp fall in sports-related fractures. They accounted for just 7.2 percent of all fractures during the during the recent time period, compared with 26 percent of all fractures in the same time period in 2018 and 2019.

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However, there was a more than 25 percent increase in fractures that occurred at home this year, and a 12 percent increase in fractures caused by high-energy falls, such as fractures from trampoline and bicycle falls.

Due to social distancing measures -- including the closure of schools and parks and the cancellation of team sports during the coronavirus pandemic -- families are spending more time at home. The shift in causes of fractures is due to parents seeking other recreational activities for their children, said the authors of the study published online recently in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

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"Although the overall rate of fractures is down significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the proportion due to bicycle and trampoline injuries has gone up substantially," said senior author Dr. Apurva Shah, an orthopedic surgeon at CHOP.

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"It is important to remind parents about the importance of basic safety precautions with bicycles and trampolines, as many children are substituting these activities in place of organized sports and school activities," Shah added in a CHOP news release.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on broken bones.

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