Bicycle riding and oral/maxillofacial trauma in young children

Med J Aust. 1996 Sep 2;165(5):249-51. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1996.tb124957.x.


Objectives: To investigate the frequency of oral/maxillofacial injuries in children who have had a bicycle incident and to relate this to the wearing of a protective helmet.

Design: Part of a larger prospective study in which self-administered questionnaires were completed by each child with bicycle-related injuries and their parents or caregivers.

Setting: Two tertiary-referral children's hospitals (between 1 April 1991 and 30 June 1992) and three general hospitals (between 1 August 1991 and 30 June 1992) in Brisbane.

Participants: 813 children aged under 15 years who presented to the accident and emergency departments with bicycle-related injuries.

Results: There were 321 children (39.5%) who sustained oral/maxillofacial injuries. Of 1355 injuries, 340 (25.1%) were to the facial region. Of the 153 children admitted to hospital for bicycle-related injuries, 94 (61.4%) had oral/maxillofacial injury as the primary reason for admission (including those with a reduced level of consciousness). Of the 66 children with a reduced level of consciousness, 53 had concomitant facial injuries. The most common oral/maxillofacial injuries were facial abrasions, cuts and lacerations (50.3%); soft tissue injuries to the mouth (30.9%); and dentoalveolar trauma (9.7%). Over half of these children were wearing bicycle helmets. Of the 15 facial fractures (mandibular, nasal, and zygomatico-orbital), 10 were in children wearing helmets.

Conclusions: Oral/maxillofacial injuries are frequent among child bicycle riders, even for those who wear Australian Standards-approved bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets need design modifications (e.g., lightweight chin protectors) to more adequately protect the face and jaw.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alveolar Process / injuries
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consciousness
  • Facial Injuries / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandibular Fractures / epidemiology
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Mouth / injuries*
  • Nasal Bone / injuries
  • Orbital Fractures / epidemiology
  • Patient Admission
  • Prospective Studies
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Skull Fractures / epidemiology
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tooth Injuries / epidemiology
  • Zygomatic Fractures / epidemiology