Fun ride or risky transport: Golf cart-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments from 2007 through 2017

J Safety Res. 2020 Dec;75:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2020.10.002. Epub 2020 Nov 16.


Introduction: Golf cart-related injuries constitute a substantial source of morbidity, most notably in pediatric populations. Despite the high rate of injuries, there have been no meaningful changes in golf cart design or legislation to reduce the overall burden of these injuries. This study sought to characterize the epidemiology of golf cart-related injuries treated in United States hospital emergency departments.

Method: A retrospective analysis was conducted by using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for patients of all ages who were treated in emergency departments (EDs) (2007-2017) for a golf cart-related injury.

Results: From 2007 through 2017, an estimated 156,040 (95% CI = 102,402-209,679) patients were treated in U.S. EDs for golf cart-related injuries. The average rate of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in children (1.62 per 100,000 children) was more than three times that of TBIs in adults (0.52 per 100,000 adults; rate ratio = 2.38; 95% CI = 2.36-2.41) and nearly twice that of TBIs in seniors (1.11 per 100,000 seniors; rate ratio = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.19-1.22). The rate of injuries in seniors increased significantly by 67.6% from 4.81 per 100,000 seniors in 2007 to 8.06 per 100,000 seniors in 2017 (slope = 0.096; p = 0.041).

Conclusions: Golf cart use remains an important source of injury for people of all ages, especially in children. As use continues to increase, it is unlikely that golf cart-related injuries will decrease without substantial changes to product design, regulation, and/or legislation. Practical Applications: Use of golf carts pose a considerable risk of injury and morbidity; safety recommendations should be followed.

Keywords: Golf cart; Injuries; NEISS; Transportation safety; Traumatic brain injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Golf / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Transportation
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult