The spectrum of pediatric injuries sustained in snow sports

Snow sports are popular among children but carry the potential for significant injury. Head injuries are less common than fractures and sprains but may be fatal. Helmets are recommended for all snow sports, and yet their effectiveness remains unknown. We aimed to evaluate the spectrum of injuries sustained at three large alpine resorts and to assess the effect of helmet usage on injury severity.

We performed a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected pediatric trauma data (2005-2015) from the three largest alpine resorts in our state. Data were analyzed using Spearman's correlation, chi-square, and odds ratio.

A total of 6299 incidents were reviewed. Skiers accounted for 3821 (60.7%) patients, while snowboarders accounted for 2422 (38.5%) patients. More than half (53.5%) of the injuries were related to falls, predominantly affecting knees in skiers and wrists in snowboarders. Overall, helmet usage decreased with age (p<0.001), though helmet uptake was positively associated with higher level of ability in both skiers and snowboarders (p<0.001). Concussions in both skiers and snowboarders were inversely correlated with the rates of helmet usage (p<0.05).

Helmet usage was associated with reduced rates of concussion. However, helmet usage decreased with age. We advocate for promotion of helmet usage, using mandatory guidelines, across all pediatric age groups.

Level II - Retrospective study.

Journal of pediatric surgery. 2017 Sep 04 [Epub ahead of print]

Zara Summers, Warwick J Teague, John M Hutson, Cameron S Palmer, Helen E Jowett, Sebastian K King

Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; F. Douglas Stephens Surgical Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia., Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; F. Douglas Stephens Surgical Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Paediatric Surgery, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Trauma Service, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia., Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; F. Douglas Stephens Surgical Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Urology, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia., Trauma Service, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia., Trauma Service, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia., Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; F. Douglas Stephens Surgical Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Paediatric Surgery, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address: .

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