Quad bike injuries in Waikato, New Zealand: an institutional review from 2007–2011

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Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to assess the burden of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) injuries within the Waikato region of New Zealand.

Methods

From the local database of 13 400 trauma patients, 101 patients with ATV-related injury or death were identified. We analysed data on demographics, location and mechanism of accident, helmet use, length of hospital stay, injury severity score and type of injury. Only admissions to Waikato Hospital trauma centre between February 2007 and March 2011 were included.

Results

A total of 84% of patients were male, 16% were female. The mean age was 38.8 years (range 4–82). Twelve per cent of patients were within the paediatric age range (<16 years). No age group was at particular risk for an ATV injury. An increase in ATV injuries year-on-year within the Waikato area was found. A large number of head injuries were found. Helmet compliance was low. Injury severity score was significantly higher in Maori than in NZ Europeans (mean 16.8 versus 10.0 (P = 0.04)) and was comparable between children and adults as well as men and women. Our results display a 42% rise in admission incidence from 2009 to 2010, resulting in increased hospital bed occupancy. If the current trend of a growing number of quad bike accidents was to continue, this could amount to a cost of NZ$1 467 344 in 2012 from ATV injuries in Waikato hospital alone.

Conclusions

Quad bike injuries are an increasing burden on Waikato health care. The best strategy to tackle this epidemic needs to be further debated.

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