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Stair injuries declining, but still an issue for children: study

March 14, 2012

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Columbus, OH – Every six minutes, a child younger than 5 receives treatment in an emergency department for a stair-related injury, according to a study published online March 12 in the journal Pediatrics.

Using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1999 to 2008, researchers estimated that 931,886 children younger than 5 were treated for stair-related injuries. However, the number of injuries per year decreased by 11.6 percent over the 10-year study period.

Soft-tissue injuries accounted for approximately 34.6 percent of the cases; 76.3 percent of children had neck and head injuries; and 2.7 percent of the patients were hospitalized, the study found.

Researchers recommended that parents and guardians use built-in or wall-mounted gates to prevent children from using the stairs. They stressed, however, that these gates are not a substitute for proper adult supervision.

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