02.03.2024

Don’t throw your kids in the air if you’ve got a ceiling fan

It may be fun to play with your child by putting them on your shoulders or hoisting them above your head, but if your ceiling fan is spinning, it could prove dangerous.

Experts warn the risk of a child hitting a ceiling fan is typically overlooked and could lead to serious injury or death.

A study in the journal Pediatrics found between 2013 and 2021, emergency rooms saw 20,500 ceiling fan-related injuries.

And data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found each year, 2,300 children are treated in emergency rooms for head injuries stemming from ceiling fans.

The Pediatrics study showed deep wounds were the most commonly treated injury from ceiling fans, accounting for three out of five of these ER cases. Skull fractures accounted for five to 18 percent of cases.

However, many more have likely gone uncounted.

A study in the journal Pediatrics found between 2013 and 2021, emergency rooms saw 20,500 injuries from ceiling fans

A study in the journal Pediatrics found between 2013 and 2021, emergency rooms saw 20,500 injuries from ceiling fans

Dr Holly Hughes Garza, lead researcher and epidemiologist at Dell Children’s Trauma and Injury Research Center in Austin, Texas, told MedicalXPress.com: ‘It’s important to keep in mind we were only looking at kids who went to an emergency room for their injury, so we’re not talking about every kid who bumped their head on a fan.

‘There’s probably a lot more kids that that happens to and they don’t actually go seek medical care.’

The study found head injuries from ceiling fans happen most often in two age groups: babies under one year old and four-year-old children.

Additionally, children under three were twice as likely to get hurt from being lifted or tossed by an adult compared to older children, the study found.

‘For really young kids, even infant babies, we see that they can be hit by a ceiling fan when an adult lifts them up into the air and actually lifts them or tosses them up to impact the ceiling fan,’ Dr Garza said.

‘This could be sometimes done playfully, and somebody just doesn’t realize the fan is there, or just on accident they’re lifting the kid up, and the ceiling is low enough that they hit the fan.’

While many of these injuries are treatable, others could have fatal consequences.

In 2019, a stepfather in Argentina accidentally killed his six-month-old daughter when he tossed her in the air while playing and she hit the ceiling fan.

That same year, a two-year-old girl in Malaysia died from the same cause.

Dr Garza said many cases are among children using bunk or loft beds, as well as any other type of furniture high enough off the ground that would get a child close to a ceiling fan.

‘We get used to how our rooms look. You have a certain layout, you have the bed in a certain position, and it might be partially under the fan,’ she said.

‘You don’t really think much of it, so that when you put two and two together, that hey, you know, the bed that’s 3-foot-high is sitting right under a fan that has a drop of 2 feet on an 8-foot ceiling.’

‘If my 7-year-old stands on the edge of that bed, that equals a problem.’

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