Articles Posted in Injuries to Children

While trampolines remain a popular recreational activity for many children and teenagers, pediatricians have long warned that they pose serious dangers of debilitating spinal fractures or traumatic brain injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) renewed its warnings in a paper published this month in its journal, Pediatrics, reviewing the types of accidents that can occur with trampolines and the injuries that are likely to result.

The trampoline, in its modern form, originated as a “tumbling device” intended for athletic training. A 1945 patent obtained by George Nissen, a competitive gymnast, described a device for use in gymnastic and acrobatic training. Later modifications to the design allowed manufacturers to produce units that could be shipped and assembled individually, and the recreational trampoline was born. While organizations like the AAP, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provide safety recommendations for the proper maintenance and use of trampolines, trampoline-related injuries have persisted. Recent safety modifications to trampoline designs, such as protective netting and padding, have not significantly reduced injury rates, according to the AAP. The AAOS noted that injury rates increased parallel to the growth in popularity of trampolines. The AAP has observed, however, that trampoline purchases peaked in 2004, and injury rates have declined since then.

The AAP estimates that an average of 100,000 trampoline-related injuries occur every year. About 3,000 of those injuries result in hospitalization or fatalities. Injuries can result from collisions between multiple users, falls from the trampoline to the ground or floor, and collision with the trampoline frame or springs. While injuries to the upper and lower extremities, particularly fractured or sprained ankles, are the most common type of trampoline-related injury, head and neck injuries are the most dangerous and damaging risk. Impact to the head or neck can cause traumatic brain injury such as concussion, or damage to the cervical spine. In rare cases, trampoline-related neck injuries can cause a vertebral artery dissection, which can cause stroke or other long-term impairment. The AAP estimates that about 0.5% of all trampoline injuries, which could be as many as five hundred each year, result in permanent neurological damage.
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A Shelbyville man has submitted a tort claim to the Indiana Attorney General, indicating his intention to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the state’s Department of Child Services (DCS) over the death of his one year-old son. He alleges that DCS ignored warnings that the child’s mother and her boyfriend were abusing the child, and that the agency’s failure to intervene and protect the child contributed to his death. The man also notified the hospital that treated his son of his intent to file a medical negligence lawsuit.

According to Jerraco Noel, he reported the abuse of his son, Jayden, to DCS in July 2011. Jayden was treated in the emergency room of Major Hospital in Shelbyville on July 15, 2011 for injuries resulting from abuse by his mother and her boyfriend. DCS reportedly found Noel’s claims at the time “unsubstantiated.” Jayden died on January 18, 2012 from “multiple blunt-force traumatic injuries to the head.” Prosecutors have charged the mother and her boyfriend with neglect of a dependent causing death. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Noel claims that DCS “failed to conduct a reasonable investigation” after he reported his suspicions of abuse. He also alleges that the agency failed to consult with any of the medical professionals who treated Jayden, and that those medical professionals failed to report the injuries to DCS. He is demanding $700,000, the maximum amount of damages allowed by statute from DCS, for “loss of love and affection.”
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A boy injured during a paintball game may not recover damages from the boy who shot him, according to a Wisconsin appeals court. In Houston v. Freese, a boy who removed his helmet during a game, then suffered an eye injury when he was hit with a paint pellet, sued the boy who fired the pellet for negligence and recklessness. The appeals court found that state laws governing “contact sport” claims precluded a negligence claim, and that the defendant was not reckless as a matter of law.

Jacob Stelter, age 13, invited seven friends to play paintball in an outdoor course that his older brother Kyle had built near their house. Jett Houston and Alex Freese were among the friends who came over. Kyle, who was an experienced player, gave instructions to the group on safety procedures and equipment. Each boy had a mask with goggles for face and eye protection. Kyle instructed them to keep their masks on at all times in the game area, even if they had been eliminated from play. The boys played elimination rounds, in which players had to leave the game area when they were hit with a pellet. They called time-outs sometimes when a player was leaving the field.
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Indiana ranks in the middle of the fifty states and the District of Columbia when it comes to injury prevention, according to a recent study. The study, entitled “The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report,” is the work of the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a health care policy organization, in partnership with the philanthropic Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study ranks states and D.C. based on ten “key indicators” relating to injury prevention laws or regulations. Indiana has five of the ten. It also ranks the states based on the total number of annual injury-related deaths per 100,000 people. With a rate of 60.4, Indiana ties Kansas for the twenty-seventh highest rate.

The study analyzed injury data, which it says account for 180,000 deaths per year in America. The lifetime costs of injuries in the U.S., which includes both immediate costs and ongoing care needs, as well as lost income and productivity, exceeded $406 billion in 2000. Injuries, as compared to communicable and non-communicable disease, are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and forty-four. At 97.8 njury-related deaths per 100,000 people, New Mexico has the highest annual rate. New Jersey, with 36.1, has the lowest. Indiana and Kansas, tied at twenty-seventh, are almost exactly in the middle.
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An Indianapolis fourth grader at Spring Mill Elementary school was killed last week after being struck by a bus. The child, Christopher Beltz, was hit after he was dropped off a bus and then reportedly ran into the path of another. Indianapolis police are currently investigating the incident.

As a father of two elementary school aged children, reports like this hit very close to home. Last year, I published an article regarding school bus safety which seems particularly relevant given last week’s tragedy. Below is the article which contains useful information for kids, parents and motorists.
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