Tag Archives: accidental injury

A True Trampoline Nightmare (Pedcast)

Doc Smo here, your pedcast host. Thank you for joining me today for what I hope will be an interesting edition of docsmo.com, the place where we discuss all things pediatric, all the way  from the “onesie” to the “three-piecie”…and everything in between. Today I’m going to tell you about an interesting experience I had a few weeks ago when I was doing a check up in the office. The patient and his mother was there, the child being about 10 years old. The subject of trampolines came up (as it always does in my checkups with older children), and I was giving this young man my usual warning about not doing flips on trampoline. I never want to see a child have a serious head or neck injury from a trampoline accident, or any other activity for that matter. While I was warning this child not to do flips on a trampoline because the risk of a serious neck injury, this child’s mom got a really pained look on her face. I stopped the conversation and asked her if anything was wrong, and she proceeded to tell me what happened to her when she was 12 years old… in her backyard, jumping on a trampoline.

Here is what she told us: her family had a trampoline in their backyard for the kids to play on. She wasn’t supposed to be on the trampoline, and she certainly wasn’t supposed to do stunts like flips on it, especially when she was home by herself. But she played on it anyway. Then she told us she was doing a somersault and she flipped off the trampoline and came down on the back of her neck and head. She told us that as soon as she hit the ground she knew something terrible had happened. She was not able to move her arms or legs, and she thought she had broken her neck. Remember, she was by herself, laying on the ground, scared to death to move her head, thinking her neck was broken.  Her arms and legs were limp and heavy, not under her control. What a horrible experience, no help in sight, scared to move her neck thinking it was broken, and convinced that she would never move again. What could she do? So she just laid there for what must’ve seemed like an eternity. After about a half an hour of agony, she began to get feeling and movement in her arms and legs. A miracle…perhaps, but more likely the “concussion” to her spine began to clear. After her arms and legs began to move, she finally got up enough nerve to move her neck and she realized that she hadn’t broken neck, but rather she just had a horrible blow to her spine and was temporarily paralyzed.

She had come within millimeters of actually fracturing her spine and being a quadriplegic for the rest of her life, and she knew it. What good fortune she had not to actually break her neck. Finally she got up and kept that fall a secret from everyone, including her parents, until that day in my office! She had never told a soul about her fall until that day in that examining room when she relived every moment of that terrifying event. She knew all too well what I was discussing with her children, and she was glad that we were talking about this subject so that hopefully no other child, especially a child of hers, would ever have to endure such a horrible event… or worse.

So here is the takeaway message from this story for your family: make sure you take the time to share stories of your childhood that might benefit your children, just like this mother did. When your children are old enough, tell them about the people you knew who got into cars after drinking when you were in high school and what terrible things happened to them. Tell them about the kids who got hurt playing with things that they knew they shouldn’t have been playing with like explosives, knives, firearms, or even drugs and alcohol. Tell them what happened to your friends who didn’t take school seriously and do their work, choosing instead to just get by. Make sure you share your treasure trove of life experience with your kids so they can benefit from your experiences. I think you will find that they’re very interested in what you have learned and experienced. Even if they don’t act like they are listening to you, they are probably taking in every word you say. I can guarantee you the kids in that exam room heard every word their mother said that day, and that they will never do flips on trampoline… and that’s a really good thing!

Thanks for sharing some of your precious time with me today. My audience is really growing and for that, I want to thank you. If you are new to the DocSmo blog, take a few minutes to explore literally hundreds of articles and pedcasts. I think you will be glad you did. While you are there or on the DocSmo iTunes site, take a moment to leave a comment or a review. This is your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen, reminding you to move your lips, and tell your kids not to do flips.  Until next time.

2010 Vital Statistics…Interesting (Article)

Recently I came across an article with some interesting statistics summarizing vital statistics in the US for 2010-2012.  Much of the news is very encouraging. The average life expectancy of an infant born in the US in 2010 was 78.7 years.  Said another way, this means that 50% of all children born in 2010 will live beyond 78.7 years.  I find that amazing. Remember, that life expectancy includes all the children who die from terrible genetic problems, congenital malformations such as complex heart problems, and prematurity shortly after birth.  Compared to our ancestors, we are incredibly sturdy creatures.

 

The 2010 data also revealed that the teen birth rate was at an historic low.  I think this is great news. I love the teens I care for but I must say, most are not equipped to be parents. Success in our culture requires sophisticated skills that most teens do not possess. Since average life expectancy is now 78.7 years, what’s the hurry to have children?  Interestingly, many mothers understand this, delaying childbirth to into their 30’s and even 40’s according to the 2010 data.

 

 

The  2010 data, once again, reveals that the great challenges to improving children’s health are the same as they have been for the past 50 years:  reducing or eliminating the number of children who are injured or killed by unintentional accidents or homicides.   Children are hospitalized far more often for accidental injury than any other cause.  It’s our responsibility as adults to keep them safe from burns, choking, automobile accidents, drownings. and the rest.  Lets roll up our sleeves and get to work. This time, numbers don’t lie.

Smo Notes:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/02/05/peds.2012-3769.abstract

 

Written by Catherine Wu and Paul Smolen MD.

 

 

 

 

From the desk of Doc Smo: More on Injury Prevention (article)

Many of you are probably aware that I attended and graduated from Rutgers Medical School. When I was there, Rutgers was a very young start-up medical school attached to a prestigious old university named Rutgers. Since my graduation, the school received a major endowment from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation (RWJF) of Johnson and Johnson fame. Since then, they have changed the name from Rutgers to—you guessed it—the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. In addition to funding my alma mater, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports a lot of health policy research. My interest in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation brings us to today’s memo.

 

I recently read about a new policy study that was supported by the RWJF, which took a close look at various state laws with respect to child and adult safety.  The report is called: “The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report.” After grading each state on the strength of their laws, the researchers overlaid this data on the actual accident rates each state has suffered in the recent past. Did they find that states with strong safety laws had lower accidental injury rates…? You bet they did. While the correlation is not perfect, I think you will see if you look at their data that states with strong safety laws tend to have less accidental injury. The strictest laws are found in California and New York, and they have the lowest rates of accidents. The weakest laws are found in Montana, Ohio, Idaho, Kentucky, North and South Dakota, and South Carolina. All these states scored in either the worst or next to worst accident rates.

 

The point is that accident prevention, either by parents or by state legislatures, does make a difference in protecting both children and adults from accidental injury. Enforcing seatbelt, helmet, drunk driving, sports safety, and dating violence laws do have a positive impact on our health. Yes, these laws do encroach on some personal freedoms, but in my opinion this is a small price to pay when we are talking about protecting our children, neighbors, and fellow citizens from serious harm.  Take a little time to copy and past the link below and browse the report.   I think you will be glad you did.

 

http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/74400.5885.thefactshurt.20120521.pdf