Retail Store-Related Traumatic Injuries in Paediatric and Elderly Populations

Retail stores are often frequent sources of emergency medical service (EMS) calls responding to traumatic injuries. At risk populations for trauma due to falls are paediatric and elderly persons. Methods: the authors reviewed the English literature for incidence and outcomes of EMS response to retail store injuries in paediatric and elderly populations. Articles were chosen based on EMS response and emergency department (ED) visits for age ranges younger than 18 and older than 65. Injury patterns and mechanism of injury were reviewed and alcohol or assault related injuries were excluded from analysis. Results: 22 relevant articles from 5 countries, with the majority of studies from the US, were found; these included 7 descriptive national surveillance database reviews, 4 retrospective record reviews, 4 randomized trials, a survey based study, with the remainder case reports and editorials. Modes of conveyance are the sources for majority of injuries including trauma from the use of shopping carts, stairs, escalators, and elevators. Other areas of injury include trip hazards. Falls are the most common mechanism of injury for both populations and account for more than half of injuries associated with store environments. The use of safety devices and efforts to reduce injury risk are not universal in the retail industry and interventions have variable efficacy. Conclusion: retail stores are common settings responded to by paramedics for paediatric and elderly traumatic injuries. Scene management and extrication of injured persons is an issue for EMS personnel responding to these settings, with methods tailored to injury mechanism. There are several avenues for intervention with the focus on injury prevention though community education.

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