70,000 kids annually end up in ERs with injuries, many preventable

It's not surprising that kids who manage to hurt themselves are a major source of pediatric medical spending in the U.S. According to a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics more than 70,000 kids show up in emergency rooms with medical device injuries.

Researchers at the FDA based their estimates on data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program database from Jan. 1, 2004 through Dec. 21, 2005.

Contact lenses accounted for 23 percent of adverse events overall, followed by hypodermic needles (8 percent). Even "eye protection devices" ironically were behind 6 percent of the medical device injuries. They were associated with corneal abrasions from the ear stem, photokeratitis, and a problem that is probably more common among children than adults, foreign object in the eye.

The most common types of injuries were contusions or abrasions, foreign-body intrusions, punctures, lacerations and infections. The most-frequently affected body parts were the eyeball, public region, finger, face, and ear.

Kids are more likely to injure themselves with medical devices when they're young, but then the incidences spike after 10 years. More girls than boys are affected at older ages (16 to 21 years). At younger ages (10 and younger), boys are more likely to hurt themselves with medical devices.

- read the Pediatrics article
- read the Businessweek article
- see the Chicago Sun Times article