Golf carts have become a popular mode of transportation off of the links because of their small size, low maintenance, and ease of use. Case reports suggest severe, debilitating injuries as a consequence of golf cart incidents. To date, there has been no national population-based study of golf cart- related injuries.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System identified individuals who visited participating emergency departments from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2005 for injuries sustained as a result of golf carts.
An estimated 48,255 (95% confidence interval, 35,342–61,108) golf cart-related injuries occurred in the U.S. between 2002 and 2005; the injury rate was 4.14 of 100,000 population. The highest injury rates were observed in 10 to 19 year olds and those aged 80 and older. Male patients had a higher injury rate than female patients, and whites had a higher rate than blacks or Asians. Contusions/abrasions were the most common diagnosis for the hip and lower extremity region; fractures were the most common diagnosis for shoulder and upper extremity region; and intracranial injuries, including concussions, subdural hematomas, and hemorrhage, were the most common diagnosis for head and neck region. The two most common geographic settings of injuries were sports fields such as golf courses (45.0%) and places of residence (16.0%).
The popularity of golf carts as a means of transportation calls for mandatory safety standards to be met along with implementation of available safety courses for children who will potentially be operating these vehicles.
From the Center for Injury Sciences at UAB and Section of Trauma, Burns, and Surgical Critical Care, Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Received for publication November 21, 2006.
Accepted for publication May 21, 2007.
McGwin and Griffin are currently at Department of Epidemiology and International Health, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Address for reprints: Gerald McGwin Jr, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 120 Kracke Building, 1922 7th Avenue South, AL 35294; email: email@example.com.