ADHD Doubles the Risk of Injury for Schoolchildren

Grade school kids with ADHD at high risk of getting hurt

(RxWiki News) Serious injuries are serious business among children; they are the leading cause of death among American youth, killing more 11-year-old kids in the United States than all other causes combined.

And for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they are nearly twice as likely to get hurt as children without the disorder. Boys are twice as likely to be injured as girls.

"Pay extra attention to safety for ADHD children"

David Schwebel, director of the Youth Safety Laboratory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham led a study of 4,745 fifth-grade children in Birmingham, Houston and Los Angeles. The mean age of the kids was 11.12 years and was about split evenly between girls and boys, as well as races.

The team defined serious injury as one that requires medical attention, and studied the difference in reported injuries among those children who had symptoms of ADHD as well as conduct disorder, and those who didn't.

The odds of injury increased as the severity of ADHD symptoms increased in the kids. Those in the 90th percentile of ADHD symptoms were twice as likely to get hurt as those in the 10th percentile, said Schwebel.

“Children with ADHD are impulsive, inattentive; they may not notice things because their mind is wandering, and they’re hyperactive so they’re always moving and getting into things.” Schwebel added that by age 11, kids no longer have adult guardians watching them all the time, which means they have to make decisions on their own.

Poor decision-making skills in children with ADHD could be a big factor in their much higher risk of serious injury. Receiving treatment for the disorder, seeing a psychologist and getting proper medication could all reduce both ADHD symptoms, as well as the risk of injury.

Findings were published in the September/October issue of Academic Pediatrics.

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Review Date: 
September 15, 2011