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Injury. 1995 Mar;26(2):87-8.

Paediatric injuries on an artificial ski slope.

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Department of Accident and Emergency, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


Skiing on artificial ski slopes is enjoyed by a large number of children, but the rate and types of injuries amongst young skiers is unknown. During a 1 year prospective study the rate of injury was one per 394 h skied. One hundred and twelve children sustained 116 injuries, including 52 fractures. The ratio of upper to lower limb injuries was 4.5 to 1, with the thumb being the most commonly injured site. Although most injuries resulted from simple falls, five of the 12 patients with the most severe injuries (requiring admission), had injured themselves by crashing into the barrier at the bottom. It is concluded that the rate of injury to children on this artificial ski slope is unacceptably high. Measures are suggested to improve safety for children. These include: increasing supervision, carefully controlling numbers, enforcing the use of thumbless mittens with restrictions on the use of ski poles, increasing the 'run-off' area and improving padding on the barriers at the bottom. The different requirements of children from adults deserve consideration when introducing them to what were once 'adult' sports.

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