Objective: To characterize the trend of wheelchair related injuries over time, and describe the demographics and characteristics of wheelchair users’ injuries by age group.
Methods: Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) were analyzed.
Results: In 2003, more than 100 000 wheelchair related injuries were treated in emergency departments in the US, double the number reported in 1991. Tips and falls accounted for 65–80% of injuries across all age groups of wheelchair users. The majority of children’s injuries occurred at locations outside of homes and institutions/hospitals in environments with stairs, ramps, and curbs (57.3%). In contrast, injuries among adult users were more likely to occur in homes, hospitals, and institutions (45–90%).
Conclusions: Wheelchair related injuries may have increased in the US during the past decade. Prevention efforts should address the interacting complex factors that influence risk of injury while using a wheelchair.
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