Objectives: This study aimed to describe the determinants of the severity and type of injuries sustained by children hurt in off-road vehicle (ORV) accidents.
Methods: This was a retrospective clinical study for which data were obtained from the trauma database at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead covering the 10-year period between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2007. Data points collected included age, sex, Injury Severity Score (ISS), body region injured, type of vehicle, accident setting, mechanism of injury, estimated speed, position of the rider, use of a helmet and/or protective clothing, and hospital length of stay. The study end points were determinants of injury severity and type. Statistical analysis of the collected data was done with the standard statistical software package, SPSS.
Results: A total of 288 children (242 male [84%] and 46 female [16%] patients) presented for ORV-related trauma. Helmets significantly diminished the chance of sustaining a head injury occasioning a skull fracture. Jumping was associated with increased ISS and a higher chance of sustaining an abdominal and/or thoracic injury. Older children were more likely to sustain pelvic and spinal injures, be injured while traveling at high speed, and be injured while going over a jump. Mean ISS was significantly lower if trauma was sustained while riding a mini motorcyle in any setting and any ORV at home.
Conclusions: Further research (prospective, federal, and multi-institutional) is needed with a view to optimizing training schedules, rules, regulations, and licensing requirements for pediatric ORV riders.