Objective. To assess the impact of helmet use on the pattern, and severity of pediatric equestrian injuries.

Design. A prospective observational study of all children less than 15 years of age who were brought to the University of Virginia children's Emergency Department with horse-related injuries.

Results. During the two-year period of the study, 32 children were evaluated. Two children were injured when a horse stepped on them. Thirty children fell from or were thrown from a horse. Of these, 20 were wearing a helmet. Head injuries were more frequent in those patients not wearing helmets. The mean Modified Injury Severity Scale (MISS) score for riders without a helmet (12.9) was significantly higher (more severe) than that for helmeted riders (2.8). All three patients with a Glascow Coma Score <15 on arrival were not wearing a helmet at the time of injury. The frequency of hospitalization was significantly higher for those not wearing a helmet. Compared with other common mechanisms of childhood injury the mean Modified Injury Severity Scale score of injured riders was exceeded only by that of pedestrians struck by a car.

Conclusion. Equestrian injuries are more severe than those suffered from other common pediatric mechanisms. Helmet use is associated with decreased frequency and severity of central nervous system injury.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.