A new study has found children are far more at risk of injury in
the bath or shower from slips, trips and falls, than from scalding or
drowning and most injuries occur to children under age 4.
say slips and falls are far more common and in most cases, parents are
present when their child falls or slips - they say young children, are
the ones most typically injured in bathtubs and showers as they tend to
topple forward because they have a high centre of gravity, they then
hit their head and their face, and end up with injures such as
lacerations to the face and head.
According to the new study
more than 43,000 children, 18 years and younger, are treated in U.S.
hospital emergency departments every year for injuries occurring in a
bathtub or shower.
The researchers say bathtubs and showers are
frequently associated with injuries to children but despite
interventions put in place to prevent injuries such as near drowning
and hot water scalds, little attention has been paid to slips, trips
and falls in the bath or shower, yet such incidents account for more
than 80% of bathtub and shower-related injuries.
the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's
Hospital in Ohio, has revealed that the number of injuries remained
consistently high over the 18-year study period from 1990-2007,
suggesting that prevention efforts need to be increased.
study shows that children younger than 5 years accounted for more than
half of all injuries and the most common diagnosis was a laceration
(60%), with the face being the most frequently injured body region
(48%), followed by the head and neck (15%).
Even though experts
globally recommend that young children be supervised at all times while
in the bath and shower, supervision alone will not prevent all bath and
shower-related injuries, especially slips and falls.
Smith from Ohio State University College of Medicine says what is
needed is environmental changes, such as making surfaces more
slip-resistant, handholds to reduce slipping and falling, the
elimination of sharp edges in the bathtub and shower, and shatterproof
enclosures to prevent lacerations.
Dr. Smith says these are the
best methods to prevent bathtub and shower-related injuries - the
experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital are also calling on
manufacturers to use more slip-resistant materials when making bathtubs
and showers which could significantly reduce the number of injuries.
Center for Injury Research and Policy is a CDC-funded Injury Control
Research Center (ICRC), which focuses on the investigation and
prevention of injuries to children and adolescents - Dr. Ileana Arias,
director of the Center says installing grab bars, using non-slip mats
and always supervising young children are some ways parents can make
their bathtubs and showers safer places and protect their children.
Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute
at Nationwide Children's Hospital works globally to reduce
injury-related pediatric death and disabilities.
Control Research Centers are located at universities and medical
institutions throughout the United States and these research centers
bring together scientists with different areas of expertise in an
effort to find new and more effective ways to prevent, reduce and
respond to injuries.
The study 'Source: Injuries Associated
with Bathtubs and Showers Among Children in the United States, is
published in Pediatrics, Volume 124, Number 2, August 2009 and online.