Once their children are old enough to do more than just walk around the yard, most parents will start purchasing toys designed specifically for outdoor use, including sports equipment, bubbles, inflatable pools, wagons and, of course, tricycles.
A recently published study in the medical journal Pediatrics, however, indicates that parents perhaps need to be a bit more attuned to the risks posed by these seemingly innocuous three-wheeled bikes.
According to the researchers, who examined data on tricycle-related injuries gathered from 98 hospitals across the U.S., over 9,300 kids suffered some sort of bodily harm necessitating a trip to the emergency room from 2012 to 2013.
Furthermore, they found 52 percent of these tricycle-related injuries were suffered by children between the ages of one and two, and that while there were no fatalities during the timeframe in question, roughly 24 children lost their lives in tricycle accidents involving drowning and falls from 2005 to 2012.
Breaking the numbers down further, the researchers found the following:
- Among three- and five-year olds, head injuries were among the most common type of tricycle-related trauma.
- The most common types of bone fractures sustained in tricycle-related accidents were arms, wrists and elbows.
- Nearly 2.4 percent of children with tricycle-related injuries were ultimately admitted to the hospital.
All of this naturally has concerned parents wondering what they can do to help keep their little ones safe on tricycles.
The good news is that the researchers also provided a few basic safety tips:
- Ensure that your child falls within the designated age range for using the tricycle (typically three-years old and up).
- Outfit your child with the proper protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards and elbow pads.
- Always keep a close watch on your child to ensure they are riding on safe surfaces away from traffic and free of debris.
- Consider making modifications to make the tricycle safer, including installing a speed governor and limiting the turning radius.
Here's hoping as many parents as possible take note of these simple -- yet highly effective -- steps.