Objective: To identify risk factors associated with bicycling injuries, and to further define the magnitude of this problem.
Design: Information from the database of the Kingston and Region Injury Surveillance Program (KRISP)-the Kingston reporting centre for the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP)-was used to identify all bicycling injuries in children who were treated at participating emergency departments in 1994. A follow-up mail survey was then used to obtain further information about the incidents.
Setting: Two southeastern Ontario emergency departments that serve a regional population of 125,000 people. FOCUS POPULATION: Children and youth aged 0-19.
Results: The KRISP database documented 348 bicycling injuries in this population. Mail surveys were sent to 280 subjects and completed by 163 of these children or their parents. Our descriptions of the circumstances of the injury events and of the most frequent resulting injuries are similar to patterns in previously published reports. Sixty percent of the children who returned surveys indicated they were injured on bicycles they had been riding for less than one year, even though most of these children were experienced bicycle riders. We estimated that there were 9.4 injury events per 1000 children in the Kingston region.
Conclusions: Bicycling injuries remain a significant cause of childhood morbidity and mortality. We found that many children were injured on bicycles with which they were not familiar. Consequently, we propose as a preventive measure that children be targeted at the time of purchasing a new bicycle for helmet purchase, bicycle fitting and enrollment in safety courses.