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Children under 3 years most likely to be injured on bicycles

Study finds younger children are often passengers in bicycle seats or trailers, and have little protection against injury
Bicycle injuries

Children aged under 3 years are more likely than older children to be injured on bicycles, and to sustain head wounds as a result.

This study, carried out over 15 years in Victoria, Australia, concluded that these younger children are more likely to be injured on bicycles because they are passengers carried in seats or trailers and have little protection against injury. The researchers say children being injured on bicycles is a significant safety issue in the region.

A total of 17,859 presentations to the emergency department (ED) were examined, with 4,794 hospitalisations of child cyclists under the age of 10.

Children were most commonly seen at the ED for head (34.9%), wrist and hand (16.3%), and elbow and forearm (14.6%) injuries.

When age group figures were compared,

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Children aged under 3 years are more likely than older children to be injured on bicycles, and to sustain head wounds as a result.


Child cyclists were most commonly seen at the emergency department for head injuries. Picture: iStock.

This study, carried out over 15 years in Victoria, Australia, concluded that these younger children are more likely to be injured on bicycles because they are passengers carried in seats or trailers and have little protection against injury. The researchers say children being injured on bicycles is a significant safety issue in the region.

A total of 17,859 presentations to the emergency department (ED) were examined, with 4,794 hospitalisations of child cyclists under the age of 10.

Children were most commonly seen at the ED for head (34.9%), wrist and hand (16.3%), and elbow and forearm (14.6%) injuries.

When age group figures were compared, it was found that children under 3 years were significantly more likely to sustain head injuries than older children. Under 3s were more likely to have open-wound injuries, and those aged 7-10 were more likely to have arm, wrist or hand injuries.

The researchers report that, until now, little has been known about the risks of using child bicycle seats and trailers, but note that previous research in Europe and the US also highlights that under-3s are especially vulnerable.


Oxley J et al (2106) How safe are children when transported by bicycle? Traffic Injury Prevention. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2016.1199866

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