Beebe Medical Center warns of the little known dangers of golf carts

by Dave on June 14, 2010

With the warm weather upon us, people drive golf carts around local residential developments. While these small vehicles are convenient and popular, they are turning out to be dangerous, especially for children. Children and adults are falling out of the carts and suffering fractures and head injuries.

In recent weeks, Beebe Medical Center physicians in the Emergency Department have treated three people with potentially life-threatening head injuries after they fell out of golf carts. Physicians are concerned that because it is so early in the summer season, that they may continue to see patients with serious head injuries as the summer progresses.

“Most of the golf cart injuries that we see occur not at golf courses but at private residences and developments,” said Paul Cowan, DO, Chief of Beebe Medical Center’s Emergency Department. “Most of the drivers of these carts are either too young to have a driver’s license, or are intoxicated. Several of the riders were actually standing in a moving cart when they fell.”

According to Beebe Medical Center’s Trauma Registry, in 2009, four injuries caused when people fell out of moving golf carts were serious enough that those people were admitted to the hospital, transported to a higher level of medical care, or lost their lives. Out of the total seven people for 2009 and 2010 that were included in the Trauma Registry, six sustained head injuries and one sustained broken bones. Only the most serious injuries are included in the Registry. Patients who are treated in the Emergency Department and then sent home are not included in the Registry.

“It’s easy to fall out of a golf cart, especially if you are not paying attention,” says Michelle Arford-Granholm, Trauma Registrar and Injury Prevention Coordinator for Beebe Medical Center. “Awareness is the key to preventing any trauma. Parents need to explain to their children the perils of turning fast in a golf cart or of standing in them while they are moving. Adults need to remember that a golf cart is motor vehicle, just like a car or truck, and that they still need to take safety precautions when driving them.”

For more educational information on consumer safety, please call Beebe Medical Center Trauma Department at (302) 645-3100, ext. 5700.

Beebe Medical Center is a not-for-profit community medical center with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health with the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us online at www.beebemed.org

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