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Handlebar injuries in children: patterns and prevention

Handlebar injuries in children: patterns and prevention

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery 67(6): 338-339

Bicycle handlebar injuries in children are a significant cause of abdominal trauma. The present study documents 32 children with handlebar injuries who were managed at the Royal Children's Hospital over a 5-year period, and suggests a design change to bicycle handlebars which may reduce the severity of injury. A retrospective review of all the children admitted to the Royal Children's Hospital with handlebar injuries between January 1990 and January 1995 was undertaken. The age, sex, nature of injury, length of hospital stay and management were recorded. Thirty-two children with blunt abdominal trauma or lacerations resulting from handlebar injuries were identified. Injuries included: splenic trauma (9); liver trauma (4); traumatic pancreatitis (3); transection of the pancreas (2); renal contusions (2); duodenal haematoma (1); and bowel perforation (3). In addition, there were three urethral injuries and five lacerations involving the abdominal wall and inguino-scrotal region. The presence of external bruising was a poor indicator of underlying brgan damage. Thirteen operations were performed and the mean hospital stay for the series was 9 days. Handlebar injuries are a significant cause of both blunt abdominal trauma and lacerations to the contact area. The infrequent finding of external bruising in the presence of major organ damage suggests that, although the velocity at impact may be relatively low, the small cross-sectional area of the end of the handlebar is a major factor contributing to organ damage. Moreover, we suspect that the high proportion of lacerations observed in this type of trauma result from the sharp metallic end of the handlebar cutting through the soft rubber handle. Manufacturers of bicycles should be made aware of these findings and should adjust the design of the handlebars accordingly.

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Accession: 046211338

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9193268

DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1997.tb01986.x

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