COLORADO SPRINGS — Child trauma cases have jumped 118-percent between January and April, according to Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs.
It’s an early start to what’s referred to as ‘trauma season,’ typically seen during summer.
“While our sports-related injuries are down, they don’t have an outlet currently to run around and act like kids. And so, my worry is because of these less time and structured sports and camps, we may still see an increase,” said Michael Distefano, MD, ER Physician and Chief Medical Officer for Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Doctors say the coronavirus pandemic led to children spending more time at home, doing more outdoor activities.
But the increase in emergency department visits also accounts for child abuse injuries, a number the hospital says has tripled.
“When you think about non-accidental trauma in children, a lot of the mandatory reporters like school teachers and coaches and so, when you have decreased access to those individuals, you’re going to have a decreased in interventions,” Distefano said.
To lower the number of accidental injuries, the hospital recommends taking extra safety precautions in the home.
“As the weather warms up, you’re going to have windows open more. Screens are not to keep a child in, they’re not strong enough. It’s there to keeps bugs out. So a screen isn’t the only action you should take. So, make sure your window doesn’t open more than four inches,” said Amanda Abramczyk-Thill, injury prevention coordinator, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs
Install window guards and locks, and gate the stairs at the top and bottom.
And always have children wear proper safety equipment during an activity.
“We have hoverboards, we have skateboards, we have scooters, we have a lot of other wheeled or low motorized types of toys really, that children are playing on and sometimes you don’t think of a helmet, you think of a bike helmet or maybe a skateboard helmet. And really you need a helmet for any wheeled or motorized activity,” Abramczyk-Thill said.
Doctors say lately, trampoline and ATV injuries have been common.
“I think parents have a false sense of security. You put a net around it, it does prevent children from falling off. But majority of injuries we see in the emergency department are not from falling off. It’s from multiple children being on the trampoline and double bouncing and kids falling on one another,” Distefano said.
“It’s really only advised to let a child ride an ATV, drive or ride it if they’re 16 years old or older, kind of like that driver license age,” Abramczyk-Thill said.
Doctors understand parents are under a lot of stress with the pandemic and want to remind them to take time for themselves.
So, if you see a neighbor is under a lot of stress offer them some help.
If your child is injured, bring them to the hospital. COVID-19 precautions are in place to help keep you safe.
To reporter non-accidental trauma injuries, call CO-4-Kids, or 1-844-CO-4-Kids.