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Zip-Line Injuries On the Rise

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National Study Finds Almost Half the Injured are Children Under 10

Santa Clara, CAAccording to a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, zip-line injuries are on the increase with 17,000 people treated for zip-line-related injuries between 1997 and 2012, the period of the study. The data also show a 70 percent increase in zip-line injuries during 2009-2012, which works out to an average of 10 injuries every day.

Researchers at The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, who did the study, say most of the injuries involved children and nearly half (45 percent) were under the age of 10. The most common types of injuries included broken bones, bruises, strains and sprains, concussions and closed head injuries. Eleven percent of people who were injured had to be hospitalized.

"The high rate of hospitalization is consistent with what we see for adventure sports and reflects the severity of the injuries associated with this activity," according to Tracy Mehan, MA, manager of translational research for the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's and one of study's authors.

The research highlights the increasing safety risks associated with zip-lining. While the sport itself hasn’t changed significantly, the number of facilities offering this popular form of recreation has. The number of commercial zip-lines rose from 10 in 2001 to more than 200 in 2012 with an additional 13,000 amateur zip-lines in outdoor educational programs, camps, and backyards, according to data from the Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Most zip-line rides held on private facilities carry little-to-no insurance. Facilities may not be required to have any insurance to operate or to obtain a permit for such an activity. The study authors note that many of the injuries they found were associated with zip-lines located at sport and recreation facilities, such as outdoor education centers, challenge courses, canopy tours, summer camps and parks. While these zip-lines may be open to the public, in many states they may not be regulated and therefore may not meet industry standards, posing a potential public safety hazard.

Depending on the circumstances in which the zip-line injury happens, for example, in an amusement park, legal responsibility for harm done to visitors could rest on the amusement park owner, the ride designer or manufacturer, the ride operator or a ride or a concession stand owner.

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Posted by

Unfortunately, these attractions are being marketed to kids more and more (zip lines, zip parks, bounce houses, trampoline parks, etc)
We will likely continue to see a rise in injuries... The fact that statistics show the kids are so young may lead to an implemented age limit sooner rather than later...


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