1 out of every 200 people in the United States has an amputation. Most of them are caused by complications of the vascular system, especially in patients who suffer from diabetes. However, traumatic amputations are another factor and are much more common in children. Between 1990 and 2002, most of the traumatic limb pediatric amputations “occurred around 1 year of age with a steady decline seen up to 7 years of age.” A 1996 retrospective study observed 74 patients under 18 admitted into emergency rooms with a traumatic amputation injury and found there were three major safety risks that lead to these cases.
3 Main Causes of Pediatric Amputations Among Children
1. Power Lawn Mowers
Accidents involving power lawn mowers are the most common cause of pediatric amputation. In 2007 over 16,000 children were admitted into the ER because of a lawnmower accident. A 2006 study found that 5% of pediatric mower injuries resulted in amputations.
Help protect your children by following these safety procedures when using a power mower:
- Only allow children 12 and older operate any lawn mower, 16 and older if it’s a riding mower.
- Never carry a child as a passenger on your riding mower.
- Invest in a mower that stops moving if the operator releases the handle.
- Never let a child adjust the blade settings.
- Always wait for the blades to completely stop before performing maintenance on the machine.
2. Motor Vehicle Crashes
Auto accidents aren’t always preventable, but there are certain safety measures all parents should take to protect their children.
- Kids under 13 should not sit in the front seat.
- Use appropriate seats and restraints for your child’s size.
- Follow all directions when installing restraints.
- Pick a car with high safety ratings.
- Never leave your child or children in a car unattended.
3. Gunshot Wounds
Gunshot wounds result in the longest mean length hospital stays for pediatric amputations. If you are one out of three American households with a gun, talk to your kids about safety measures. Teach them to never touch a gun and if they see one, to leave the area right away and get an adult. Keep your guns unloaded, out of reach, and locked where your children cannot access them.
Children are at a higher risk for injury in general because of their inexperience and energy; however, there are plenty of ways to prevent your child from severely hurting themselves. The precautions mentioned above are a great place to start in injury prevention. If your child is severely injured and may be in need of an amputation, contact your local orthopedic surgeon immediately.
Dr. Stacie Grossfeld has over 10 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon including pediatric orthopedics. If you would like more information on pediatric amputations and recovery, contact Orthopaedic Specialists today at 502-212-2663.