The objective of this study was to investigate the epidemiologic characteristics and secular trends of stair-related injuries among children aged <5 years treated in US emergency departments.
A retrospective analysis was conducted of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1999 through 2008 by using sample weights to estimate national numbers and rates of stair-related injuries.
An estimated 931 886 children aged <5 years were treated for stair-related injuries from 1999 through 2008, averaging 93 189 injuries per year and 46.5 injuries per 10 000 population annually. The number of injuries per year decreased significantly by 11.6% from 1999 to 2008. The rate of stair-related injuries also decreased significantly from 53.0 to 42.4 per 10 000 population from 1999 to 2008. Soft tissue injuries accounted for 34.6% of cases. Approximately three-fourths (76.3%) of children had injuries to the head and neck region, and 2.7% of patients were hospitalized. Children who were being carried at the time of injury accounted for 24.5% of injuries among children <1 year and were more than 3 times more likely to be hospitalized than children injured by other mechanisms.
Stair-related injuries are on the decline but still represent an important source of injury to young children. Increased prevention efforts are needed, including parental education and improved stairway design, to decrease stair-related injuries among young children.