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Wheelchair related injuries treated in US emergency departments
  1. H Xiang1,2,
  2. A-M Chany1,
  3. G A Smith2
  1. 1Center for Injury Research and Policy, Columbus Children’s Research Institute, Columbus Children’s Hospital, OH, USA
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 H Xiang
 Center for Injury Research and Policy, Columbus Children’s Research Institute, 700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, OH 43205, USA; xiangh{at}


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.

  • NEISS, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
  • wheelchair
  • disabilities
  • falls

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