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Falls in the Bathtub a Common Cause of Childhood Injury

Last Updated: July 13, 2009.

Falls in the bathtub or shower are a common cause of childhood injury, especially for children age 4 years and under, according to a study published online July 13 in Pediatrics.

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Falls in the bathtub or shower are a common cause of childhood injury, especially for children age 4 years and under, according to a study published online July 13 in Pediatrics.

Shengyi J. Mao, of the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of data on bathtub and shower injuries involving children age 18 years and younger from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1990 to 2007.

During the study period, there were an estimated 791,200 bathtub or shower injuries among children, requiring a visit to a hospital emergency room. The researchers calculated an average of 43,600 injuries a year, or about 5.9 injuries per 10,000 children per year. Children age 4 years or younger had 54.3 percent of the injuries, the most common of which was laceration (59.5 percent). The most common cause of injury was a fall (81.0 percent), and the most frequent sites of injury were the face (48.0 percent) and the head/neck (15.0 percent). The vast majority of injuries happened at home (97.1 percent) and most happened in a bathtub (71.3 percent).

"This is the first study on bathtub- and shower-related injuries using nationally representative data. Slips, trips, and falls in bathtubs and showers are a common cause of injury among children, especially children less than or equal to 4 years of age. The incidence of these injuries may be decreased by increasing the coefficient of friction of bathtub and shower surfaces," the authors write.

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