By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University will host a Child Injury Symposium for parents and interested adults Tuesday, May 8, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Room 241 of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell. The symposium is free and open to the public.
Sixteen graduating seniors in Eric Kennedy's engineering elective course, Biomechanics and Injury Prevention, have backgrounds in biomedical, chemical and mechanical engineering.
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"The students were asked to identify areas of life that pose a high risk of injury to children," said Kennedy, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, "and to find ways to inform parents of high-risk activities and ways that injury risk might be lowered without withdrawing the child from the activity. This symposium is the culminating event."
Eight projects explored topics related to bike helmets, hard-hitting youth sports such as football and lacrosse, concussions, playground surfaces, knee injuries in female athletes, booster seats and seat belts on buses.
"One student presentation will show what a cracked helmet looks like and how to find a helmet with the proper fit, as well as how significant a difference a bike helmet can make, based on testing with a crash-test dummy," he said.
Other presentations will explain why youth football players are more at risk during practice than in games, discuss the disparity in head protection for men's and women's lacrosse, and explain why female athletes are nearly four times more at risk for knee injuries.
Students will discuss why parents should seek medical attention when there is concern about a head injury/risk of concussion; and how stretching and warm-up activities are involved in affecting injury risk.
Students also will explain the role playground surface plays in injury prevention from falls and share guidelines about ground covering and maintenance of home playgrounds.
Two presentations deal with booster seats and seatbelts on buses. "There is a large-scale problem with misuse of car seats by parents, particularly in the 4-9 year old range," he said. "Kids are at risk if they are moved into booster seats too early, or if they are moved out of booster seats too early, so the goal of this presentation is to educate parents on published 'best-practices' vs. legal requirements for booster seat use."
The final group explores why there are no seat-belts on school buses. Much data, including crash-tests, supports the idea of compartmentalization — padded seats, etc. — over seatbelts. The data also shows that fewer injuries occur in school bus accidents without seatbelts than with seatbelts.
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