Most Teen Spinal Fractures Are Caused By This Preventable Mistake

Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi


Nobody wants to suffer a spinal fracture, and that sentiment is even more amplified when we think about our children. But what if there was a way to help your child greatly reduce their risk of suffering one of these significant spinal injuries? According to a new report published in Spine, there may be.

The new study wanted to get a better understanding of some of the causes and mechanisms of spinal fractures in teens between the ages of 15 and 17. As you might have guessed by looking at that age range, car accidents were the leading cause of spinal fracture development. However, the most interesting note from the findings was that after looking at more than 34,500 patients who suffered spinal fractures in car accidents, two-thirds of them were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

“Nearly two-thirds of pediatric spinal fractures sustained in motor vehicle accidents occurred in children who did not use belts” said Dr. Vishal Sarwahi, MD, of Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York. “Ensuring our new, young drivers wear protective devices can greatly reduce morbidity/mortality associated with motor vehicle accidents and can help save lives, and spines.”

Severity Risk Increases Without Seatbelt

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death amongst teenagers in the United States, but they are also a source of significant spine injury. And according to researchers, when teens wore a seatbelt, the risk of a spinal fracture was significantly lower, and the risk of death dropped by more than 20 percent. Other findings from the study include:

  • 58 percent of injured patients were male.
  • Pediatric spine fractures were most common in the south (38 percent).
  • Despite a larger percentage of motor vehicle accidents occuring in the south, approximately two-thirds of all teenagers across all regions involved in motor vehicle accidents resulting in spinal fractures were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Even though the percentage of people who say they always wear a seatbelt in a vehicle has been climbing for years, it is clear that failing to wear a seatbelt is a problem for teenagers all across the US. And unfortunately, this simple mistake can have devastating consequences for thousands of teens each and every year.

So if your teen will be applying for their learner’s permit in the near future, or you just want to instill good practices and help keep them safe in the car, make sure they are buckling up every time they step in a vehicle. Not every spinal fracture is preventable, but the statistics don’t lie – wearing a seatbelt can greatly reduce your risk of a spinal fracture or death in the event of an unexpected car accident. We can help you on the road to recovery if you end up with a significant spinal injury, but we’d rather help prevent the injury in the first place, so please make sure you’re wearing your seatbelt every time you’re in the car!

And if you need help with a different spinal issue, please reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and his team of spine care specialists today.

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