Pediatric surgeon concerned about golf cart injuries to children

Posted on 5/5/2016

Children’s Hospital offers tips for keeping children safe while riding in golf carts

Last summer, at least four school-age children were brought to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital because of injuries associated with golf carts.

While most parents are careful to buckle up their children and use child safety seats in their automobiles, they don’t use that same level of care with recreational vehicles such as golf carts.

“Golf carts are not protective and we are concerned by the increasing number of golf carts we are seeing on public roads, often with unrestrained children riding in them,” said pediatric surgeon Stanton  Adkins, M.D. of Pediatric Surgeons of South Carolina.

“Most golf carts don’t have seat belts and people don’t wear helmets when riding in golf carts,” said Adkins. “These vehicles generally are not licensed for the road and it is frightening to see people driving down busy major roads with very little protection, especially for child passengers.”

Whether the child is riding in the golf cart or standing nearby, injuries can occur. “One child chased a golf cart because he wanted to jump onto it. The golf cart tipped over and fell on several children,” said Adkins. He has seen serious golf cart-related injuries, such as a fractured skull, a liver injury and broken bones. “Heads and appendages are likely to get injured. Any head injury can cause a concussion,” he said.

“While I like the idea of electric vehicles from an environmental standpoint, golf carts are not fast enough to avoid traffic and not protective enough to keep passengers from getting injured. They stop, start and turn abruptly, they don’t corner well and they flip over too easily,” said Adkins.

Adkins also is concerned about the lack of legislation for golf cart use. Current South Carolina law (Section 56-2-100) states that a low speed vehicle may be operated only on a highway for which the posted speed limit is 35 miles an hour or less.

“Most of our streets and roads do not have golf cart paths. We want to remind parents that children can be seriously injured in and around golf carts, so families should use extra caution with golf carts and other recreational vehicles,” said Adkins.

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About Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Palmetto Health Children's Hospital is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.

 

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