Thanks for confirming every parent of a child with ADHD’s worst fears, Journal of Academic Pediatrics! And thanks for compounding those fears with the heart-stopping statistic that injury is the leading cause of death among American youth. And then going still further to let us know that injuries kill more 11-year-olds than all other causes combined.
As the parent of a scattershot ADHD nine-year-old, myself, perhaps I am more sensitive to these statistics than others, so this story made me sit down with my little guy immediately for a review of the safety protocol he is supposed to be following on his five-block scooter ride to school every morning.
Unfortunately, I realized that I may have come across a little on the hysterical side when he left for school on foot fifteen minutes later, citing fears of getting his head “cracked open” if he rode the scooter.
The study, based on data collected from almost 5000 fifth graders, obtained through questionnaires filled out by their parents, found that children with ADHD are 22% more likely to sustain injuries than their peers without ADHD. The study also determined that the likelihood of an accident occurring went up with the amount of ADHD symptoms the child suffered from.
The conclusion is that, as ADHD children get older and into more unsupervised situations, “injury prevention strategies” need to be in place for these at-risk children through parents, family physicians and mental health providers.
Despite my best efforts, my son has had numerous injuries, so the thought of him running further afield as he gets older, on more dangerous modes of transportation than his own feet, gives me real pause. One of the most heart-breaking parenting moments I’ve experienced with my kids was when, one day after my ADHD son, then 4, attempted to jump off a playground slide, the same way his older brother had only moments before. His foot caught on the edge and he fell four feet, pretty much flat on his face. Afterward, as he cried in pain and embarrassment and frustration, he howled, “Why can’t I do things like him?! Why does everything bad always happen to me?!?”
I wish I had a good answer, but until then I feel a little better armed with the knowledge that others in the healthcare industry will maybe take a little extra time to reinforce my efforts to protect him by spending a few more minutes talking about safety measures during check-ups.
Read the study abstract in the journal Academic Pediatrics here.
Photo Credit: © Stacy Barnett – Fotolia.com
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