Ziplines are becoming more popular in Southern California and throughout the country at a wide range of locations, from outdoor education centers to local parks to summer camps. While children and teens might be excited to try ziplining, it is important for parents to recognize that zipline injuries are actually quite common, and they can be severe and debilitating. A recent study discussed in the Claims Journal indicates that the number of commercial ziplines has risen dramatically in the U.S. over the last two decades, from fewer than a dozen ziplines in 2001 to more than 200 as of 2012. That number does not even include the “more than 13,000 amateur ziplines found in outdoor education programs, camps, and backyards.”
We want to take a closer look at the study and provide key information to parents in Carlsbad about zipline accidents and risks.
Ziplines Pose a Serious Risk of Injury, Study Says
The key takeaway point from the study is this: As more ziplines have been created in the U.S. over the last two decades, the number of zipline accidents has also risen sharply. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy and at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The research appeared in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Between 1997 and 2012, the researchers reported that approximately 16,850 nonfatal injuries connected to zipline use required treatment in emergency departments. Of those injuries, around 70%—or about 11,800 injuries—all occurred during the last four years of the study period. Looking only at the numbers in 2012, more than 3,600 zipline injuries occurred that required a visit to an emergency department. To put that number another way, about 10 zipline injuries occurred every day, on average, in 2012.
In other words, more zipline injuries are happening as more ziplines are developed. For California residents, the Department of Industrial Relations does require that ziplines undergo an inspection and meet certain equipment requirements. Anyone operating ziplines that can be defined as amusement rides must have a permit to operate a commercial zipline. Yet it is not clear whether these regulations are sufficient to keep zipliners safe from injuries.
Common Injuries in Zipline Accidents
In addition to assessing the rate of injury from ziplines, the study also explored the types of injuries that are most common in zipline accidents. Here is what the researchers determined:
- Falls are the most common reason for injury (77%);
- Collisions with trees and other anchor structures are the second most common reason for injuries (13%);
- Broken bones are the most frequent type of injury (46%);
- Bruises also occur with some frequency (15.2%);
- Strains and sprains can also be common (15.1%); and
- Concussions and other closed-head injuries occur in around 7% of all cases.
In around 11% of all zipline injuries, the patient requires medical attention at the hospital. Nearly half—45%—of the patients who were injured were children under the age of 10, while kids aged 10-19 account for 33% of those injured. To put that another way, nearly 80% of zipline injuries involve kids.
Seek Advice from a Carlsbad Zipline Accident Lawyer
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(image courtesy of Anthony Delanoix)