Objective To quantify and describe non-fatal, unintentional bathroom injuries among children less than 15 years of age treated in US hospital emergency departments (EDs).
Methods This study used 2008 data from a nationally representative sample of EDs, available from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program. We examined unintentional non-fatal bathroom injuries in any setting (eg, home, school or public place) among children less than 15 years of age and identified types of injuries, major locations within the bathroom and precipitating events.
Results Based on 1099 cases, an estimated 51 132 non-fatal bathroom injuries in children less than 15 years of age were treated in US EDs in 2008. Most injuries (73.8%) were caused by falls. The highest rate was for injuries that occurred in or around the shower or bathtub (65.9 per 100 000). Children less than 15 years of age sustained the greatest number of injuries and had the highest injury rate (151 per 100 000 (95% CI 108.7 to 193.3)), while children 10–14 years of age had the lowest rate (28.7 (95% CI 20.6 to 36.8)). The rates differed significantly by age group (p<0.001). A majority of the patients (96.9%) were treated in the ED and released.
Conclusions Most bathroom injuries in children occurred while they were showering or bathing and were caused by falling or hitting an object. Such injuries might be reduced by improving caregiver supervision for younger children. For older children, a combination of bathroom safety education and environmental modifications, such as installing grab bars inside and outside the shower or tub, may reduce bathroom injuries.
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