Fractures in Children: Epidemiology and Activity-Specific Fracture Rates

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Approximately one-third of pediatric fractures occur during sport or recreational activity. In this paper, we investigate the incidence and causes of pediatric fractures in our region and quantify the fracture rate per exposure time for the most common sport and recreational activities.


We prospectively evaluated all children younger than sixteen years who presented to our institution with a new fracture within a twelve-month period. Exposure time to the most common childhood activities was measured by means of interviewing random parents from the study population. The main outcome measures were the annual fracture incidence in the population and fracture rates per 10,000 hours of exposure to various sports and recreational activities.


A total of 1403 fractures were included. The overall annual incidence was 180.1 fractures per 10,000 children younger than sixteen years. The distal part of the radius was most often fractured (436 fractures, 31.1%). Snowboarding was associated with the highest activity-specific fracture rate, estimated to be 1.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 2.60) fractures per 10,000 hours of exposure. In comparison, the fracture rate per 10,000 hours of exposure was 0.79 (CI, 0.42 to 1.09) for handball, 0.44 (CI, 0.35 to 0.52) for soccer, and 0.35 (CI, 0.23 to 0.47) for trampolining.


The distal part of the radius is the most common fracture site in childhood. Fracture rates differ between various physical activities. The fracture rate for snowboarding was four times higher compared with that for other common childhood sport and recreational activities in our region.

Clinical Relevance:

This descriptive epidemiology study has identified high-risk activities for pediatric fractures.

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