- May 27, 2014
Science Daily/University of Gothenburg
Many children who are injured in traffic is subsequently affected by post traumatic stress disorder, a new study has shown. Many continue to suffer from mental and psychosocial problems one year after the accident. In addition, the rate still remains low of children who are involved in traffic accidents while wearing a helmet when cycling.
Nearly every third child in Sweden who is injured in traffic is subsequently affected by post traumatic stress disorder. Every fifth child is still suffering from mental and psychosocial problems one year after the accident. These are the conclusions of a thesis submitted at the Sahlgrenska Academy, which shows also that only 6 out of 10 Swedish children and adolescents who are involved in a traffic accidents wear a helmet when cycling.
Research student Eva Olofsson has examined the consequences of road traffic injuries in children. One of her studies shows that approximately 30% of children who are injured in traffic suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder one month after the accident.
Life in danger
The stress disorder lasts from three to six months in one sixth of the children. The children often experience much stress and fear in association with the accident, and may feel that their life is in danger. This can cause posttraumatic stress disorder (anxiety disorder) in the long term, and this may constitute a major obstacle in their everyday lives," says Eva Olofsson
Cycling accidents are the most common cause of traffic injuries in children. Eva Olofsson's results show that it has become significantly more common that children who are injured in traffic are wearing a cycle helmet: In 1993 approximately 40% of children who were injured were wearing a helmet, while the figure in 2006 was 80%.
The fraction of children with skull or brain injuries after a cycling accident who received care at Drottning Silvia's Children's Hospital in Gothenburg fell during the period 1993-2006, but the fall was not statistically significant.
The incidence of facial injuries also fell, while the fraction with injuries to the arms, in contrast, increased. "We can see that a cycle helmet provides good protection against severe and life-threatening skull and brain injuries, in all types of cycling accident. Further, a helmet protects against facial injuries," says Eva Olofsson.