Tricycles might seem pretty tame but they send thousands of kids to emergency rooms each year and are even linked to a handful of deaths, new research shows. Here are three things to know about tricycle risks:
More than 9,000 tricycle-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2012 and 2013, or nearly 5,000 each year, according to the study by researchers at Medical College of Georgia and Emory University. Scant previous research on the topic prompted the study, which involved an analysis of data in a national injury surveillance system. The system collects information on emergency room visits for nonfatal injuries linked with consumer products. It is run by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Two-year-olds were most frequently injured, and injuries were slightly more common in little boys. Skin gashes were the most common injury and heads were most commonly injured. Less than 3 percent of the children had to be hospitalized, but those youngsters had serious injuries including limb amputations, fractures and internal organ damage.
The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
The safety commission receives occasional reports of tricycle-linked deaths, including nine from 2010 through last year. Most were drownings, after tricycles tumbled into pools. Other causes: fatal head injuries after falls, or being struck by a car.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says most children don't have the balance or coordination to ride a tricycle until around age 3.
Tricycles that are low to the ground, with big wheels, are safest, and helmets should be worn, the academy says. Proper supervision is advised, including keeping little cyclists away from pools and streets.
Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov
AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner