October 5, 2015

Injuries from ziplining — attaching oneself to a pulley and sliding along a cable at high speed — are on the rise, according to a recent report.

Since 1997, nearly 17,000 injuries from ziplines were treated in U.S. emergency rooms, new data published in American Journal of Emergency Medicine reveals. Children between age 0 to 9 accounted for 45% of the injuries, which were more common among females.

The most common injury from ziplines, according to data from 1997 to 2012, are fractures, and upper extremities were the most commonly injured area of the body. The most common source of injuries was falling. Falls made up 77% of total injuries from ziplines. The vast majority occurred in a public place, while about 31% happened in a residential place.

“The rapid increase in zipline-related injuries in recent years suggests the need for additional safety guidelines and regulations,” the study authors conclude. “Commercial ziplines and publicly accessible non-commercial ziplines should be subject to uniform safety standards in all states and jurisdictions across the US, and homemade ziplines should not be used.”

Industry members say the report is “alarmist” the Associated Press reports. Mike Barker, vice president of the Professional Ropes Course Association, told the AP that his group has strict safety standards and recommend courses be routinely examined by independent inspectors. “He said reasons for injuries and deaths include user or operator error and equipment malfunction,” the AP reports.

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