SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • child;
  • motorcycle;
  • off-road motor vehicle;
  • paediatric;
  • wound and injury

Aim

To describe paediatric (0–15 years) motorcycle incidents in Queensland, inform safety policy and identify opportunities to improve data in this area.

Method

Population-based study of motorcycle-related child (0–15 years) trauma, resulting in fatality or hospital admission beyond 24 h to any Queensland public hospital (2007–2009). Data compiled by Statewide Trauma Network and Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian.

Results

Ten child fatalities were recorded (child death rate = 0.36/100 000 population 0–15 years). All were male and primary riders of their motorcycle. Nine fatalities were related to head injury; of these, five wore inadequate head protection. The coroner identified rider factors as contributory (speed, age or substance abuse) in seven cases. Motorcycle-related incidents were the second most common mechanism recorded after bicycles, comprising 6.8% of 9141 paediatric trauma cases (619 motorcycle-related incidents; 1225 injuries; admission rate = 22.2/100 000 population 0–15 years). Compared with the all-trauma population, patients were older (median age = 13 vs. 10 years) and more frequently male (85% vs. 67%). Average admission was 4.4 days (head injuries = 7.0 days; burns = 5.8 days). Most children incurred >1 injury (mean = 2.01 injuries) with fractures (45%) and open wounds (17%) most common. As a proportion of all diagnoses, most injuries were to lower limb (44%), upper limb (26%) or head and neck (16%).

Conclusions

These data emphasise the need for children to use full protective equipment, especially helmets. Children are not currently protected by legislation mandating safety standards. Regulating rider age and safety standards (protective equipment, training and vehicle maintenance) may reduce the rate and severity of injury.