Objective: To examine the scope and severity of injuries sustained from falls from single rope tree swings among children.
Methods: Twenty-six children formed the basis of this retrospective study. Patients were divided into three groups based on the estimated distance of their fall (one, two, or three stories). Data were analyzed with respect to mechanism of injury, age, gender, length of hospital stay, injury severity score, number and type of injuries, and mortality.
Results: Eighteen patients fell from ropes, and 8 from vines (all onto packed dirt). Fourteen falls occurred from one story or less, 8 from two stories, and 4 from three stories. One death occurred from intracranial injury following a two-story fall. No difference in age, gender, injury severity score, or length of hospital stay with respect to the height of the fall was observed. Falls from lower heights resulted in equally severe injuries as falls from higher heights. Overall, head trauma was the most common injury (58%) followed by long bone fractures (42%), axial skeletal fractures (23%), and intra-abdominal visceral injuries (8%).
Conclusions: The present study demonstrated that recreational single rope tree swing injuries among children resulted in significant morbidity regardless of the height of the fall. This activity carries a substantial risk for serious injury. The mechanism of injury, clinical data, and the importance of medical awareness and patient education are emphasized.