Boat tubing injuries up: Kids bonk heads, adults crash and hurt knees

  • Blog Post by: Jeremy Olson
  • February 11, 2013 - 5:32 PM

Odd timing for a study on boat tubing injuries, but Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio reported this week that 65 tubers are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every day (on average). An analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System found 7,216 tubing injuries requiring ER visits in 2009 -- compared to only 2,068 a decade earlier.

Kids were more likely to suffer head injuries, often head-butting other kids who were riding on tubes with them. Adults were more likely to injure their knees or suffer sprains or strains when they fell off the tubes and hit the water, according to the study in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

Not a terrible surprise. Have you seen what happens when a speeding boat sends a 40-year-old tuber over a big wake? Not pretty.



The head injuries are at least partly the result of cramming too many children on tubes or other flotation devices, the researchers stated. (The picture above is a Big Mabel tube by SportsStuff that is designed to fit multiple riders. However, there was no mention in the study of products from SportsStuff, O'Brien, Airhead, Connelly, Coleman or any other manufacturer being more problematic than another.)

“Following basic safety guidelines such as sticking to the manufacture’s recommendations for the number of riders per water tube, being responsible while riding the watertube and while operating the boat and always wearing a personal flotation device can help prevent water tubing-related injuries,” said Dr. Lara McKenzie, a study author from The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Study authors recommended more research on the relationship between boat speed and tubing injuries, and other factors related to the rise in these injuries.



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