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Pediatrics. 2006 Aug;118(2):e279-85.

Escalator-related injuries among children in the United States, 1990-2002.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, Ohio, USA. mcgeehaj@ccri.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We describe the epidemiology of escalator-related injuries among children 0 to 19 years of age in the United States, with a focus on the pediatric population that is younger than 5 years.

METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Reported cases were used to project national estimates and rates of escalator-related injuries in the United States. The analysis included all patients who were 0 to 19 years of age in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database and were seen in an emergency department for an escalator-related injury during the 13-year period 1990-2002.

RESULTS:

There were an estimated 26000 escalator-related injuries among children who were 0 to 19 years of age in the United States during 1990-2002, yielding an average of 2000 of these injuries annually (rate = 2.6 per 100,000 population per year). The mean age was 6.5 years at the time of injury, and 53.4% of the patients were male. When comparing cases by 5-year age groups, children who were younger than 5 years had the highest estimated number of injuries (12000), as well as the highest annual escalator-related injury rate (4.8 per 100000). The most common mechanism of injury for all age groups was a fall, accounting for 13000 (51.0%) injuries. Entrapment accounted for 29.3% of all injuries and 36.5% of injuries among children who were younger than 5 years. Six percent (723) of injuries to children who were younger than 5 years involved a stroller, with most injuries occurring when a child fell out of the stroller while on the escalator. The most common body part injured for all ages was the leg, accounting for 27.7% of all injuries. Among children who were younger than 5 years, the hand was the most common injury site (40.6%), with hand injuries frequently occurring as a result of entrapment (72.4%). A laceration was the most common type of injury, accounting for 47.4% of escalator-related injuries. Amputations and avulsions were uncommon; however, 71.4% (595 of 833) occurred among children who were younger than 5 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

There was a disproportionate number of escalator-related injuries among children who were younger than 5 years. Entrapment occurred more frequently among children who were younger than 5 years than in any other age group, which may explain the increased number of hand injuries in this age group. Escalator designs that reduce the gap between the steps and sidewall or shield against access to the gap may decrease entrapment risk. Young children should be supervised properly and should not be transported in a stroller while riding on an escalator. All passengers should use caution and remain alert when riding an escalator to avoid injuries related to falls or entrapment. Additional research is needed to determine the relationship among passenger behavior, escalator design, and escalator-related injury.

PMID:
16882773
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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