Are children safe around golf carts in West Palm Beach? According to a recent report from Science Daily, research from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that, “as golf carts become increasingly popular in communities beyond the fairway . . . a number of children are being seriously injured while using them.” This study was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, which took place in Chicago in September 2017. In other words, golf cart accidents cause serious child injuries.
If you regularly drive a golf cart, or if your children are commonly around golf carts in South Florida, what do you need to know about this new research and its impact on golf car accident risks?
Children Sustain Serious Injuries On and Around Golf Carts
In the recent study, researchers explored data from more than 100 patients who were under the age of 18 and sustained a golf cart injury that required medical treatment between 2004-2014. On average, the kids who suffered a golf car injury were aged 11. In total, the children in the study “spent anywhere from one to 26 days in the hospital for their injuries.” One of the golf cart injuries recorded resulted in a fatality, and 36 percent of the children assessed had injuries severe enough to require hospitalization in an intensive care unit.
While not all golf cart injuries involving children were life-threatening, a majority of the injuries were serious. Indeed, approximately 76 percent of all kids identified by the researchers had broken “at least one bone,” and more often than not, “skull fractures were more prevalent than extremity fractures.” In other words, the researchers saw more incidents of skull fractures than, for example, broken arms, wrists, or legs. On a related issue, about 27 percent of the children in the research group suffered a concussion, and anywhere from 25 percent to 30 percent of those kids suffered from “intracranial injury and bleeding within the skull.”
To be clear, a high percentage of golf carts injuries in children cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other forms of head trauma.
Need for More Awareness About Golf Cart Accidents and Child Injuries
Why are so many children sustaining serious injuries in golf cart accidents? The researchers theorize that there are two major issues at work. First, many people assume that golf cart accidents—even if they happen—are not usually serious since these vehicles travel at relatively low speeds, especially compared to automobiles. And second, many parents do not realize that golf cart accidents frequently result in a high number of head injuries among children.
According to Dr. William Hennrikus, a senior author of the study, TBIs are common among kids because “helmets usually aren’t worn while using the carts.” He went on to note that, of all the fractures children sustain in golf cart accidents, almost 50 percent were skull fractures.
What can parents do to prevent child injuries in golf cart accidents? First and foremost, no children under the age of 16 should be driving a golf cart. And regardless of who is driving, golf carts should not exceed the speed of 10 miles per hour for the safety of everyone riding in the golf cart, as well as for nearby pedestrians.
Contact a Florida Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
Do you have questions about filing a personal injury claim? Did you know, in Florida, golf carts are deemed a “dangerous instumentality” and both the owner and driver can be held liable? A Florida golf cart accident lawyer can help. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC to learn more about our services. We have handled many golf cart accident cases.