The full spectrum of handlebar injuries in children: A decade of experience

R. M. Nataraja, C. S. Palmer, G. S. Arul, Catherine Bevan, Joe Crameri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background Traumatic paediatric handlebar injury (HBI) is known to occur with different vehicles, affect different body regions, and have substantial associated morbidity. However, previous handlebar injury research has focused on the specific combination of abdominal injury and bicycle riding. Our aim was to fully describe the epidemiology and resultant spectrum of injuries caused by a HBI. Methods Retrospective data analysis of all paediatric patients (<18 years) in a prospectively identified trauma registry over a 10-year period. Primary outcome was the HBI, its location and management. The effects of patient age, vehicle type, the impact region, and Injury Severity Score (ISS) were also evaluated. HBI patients were compared against a cohort injured while riding similar vehicles, but not having sustained a HBI. Results 1990 patients were admitted with a handlebar-equipped vehicle trauma; 236 (11.9%) having sustained a HBI. HBI patients were twice as likely to be aged between 6 and 14 years old compared with non-HBI patients (OR 2.2; 95% CI 1.5-3.2). 88.6% of the HBI patients sustained an isolated injury, and 45.3% had non-abdominal handlebar impact. There were no significant differences in median ISS (p = 0.4) or need for operative intervention (OR 1.1; 95% CI 0.9-1.5) between HBI and non-HBI patients. HBI patients had a significantly longer LOS (1.8 days vs. 1.2 days; p = 0.001), and more frequently required a major operation (OR 3.4; 95% CI 2.2-5.4). The majority of splenic, renal and hepatic injuries were managed conservatively. Conclusions Although the majority of paediatric HBI is associated with both intra-abdominal injury and bicycle riding, it produces a spectrum of potentially serious injuries and patients are more likely to undergo major surgery. Therefore these patients should always be treated with a high degree of suspicion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-689
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bicycle
  • Handlebar injury
  • Injury Severity Score
  • ISS
  • Motorcycle
  • Paediatric trauma
  • Trauma operations

Cite this