Kids with ADHD More Likely to Sustain Injuries, Study Finds

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BOSTON Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more prone to injuries than kids without the disorder, a new Spanish study suggests.

In the study, presented here Oct. 17 at the meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids with ADHD were nearly twice as likely to suffer an injury that sent them to the hospital at some point in their lives compared to kids without ADHD.

In addition, the more injuries a child sustained, the greater their risk of having ADHD.

Efforts to prevent injuries in kids may need to be bolstered for children with ADHD, the researchers said. And if a child seems particularly accident-prone, doctors should consider evaluating him or her for ADHD, said study researcher Dr. Alfonsa Lora-Espinosa, of the Research and Efficiency Unit of Health in the District of Málaga, Spain.

Lora-Espinosa and colleagues studied 1,732 children between the ages of 6 and 14 in Andalusia.

Researchers surveyed parents and asked how many injuries that required ambulatory or hospital treatment their children had sustained since birth, and about their child's behavior. Children who met the criteria for ADHD based on the surveys were then interviewed by a physician to determine if they indeed had ADHD.

A total of 828 children experienced 1,586 injuries. The most common type of injury was an open wound (28.6 percent), followed by burns (11.3 percent), fractures (10.4 percent), broken teeth (9.1 percent), choking (3.6 percent), bicycle falls (3.5 percent), near-drowning (2.1 percent) and poisoning (1.7 percent).

The physicians determined that 210 kids had ADHD.

Among those who had ADHD, boys and those whose parents had not completed middle school or high school were at increased risk for injury.Children who'd had three or more injuries were nearly four times more likely to have ADHD than children who experienced no injuries.

Impulsivity, hyperactivity, a low tolerance to frustration and an overestimation of abilities "are all characteristics of ADHD that make the affected child more vulnerable to injuries," Lora-Espinosa told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Doctors should ask about the behavior of injured children in order to diagnose, treat and monitor ADHD children from an early age, Lora-Espinosa said. Early monitoring and education could prevent children from getting into serious accidents in the future, such as driving accidents, Lora-Espinosa said.

Pass it on: Children with ADHD appear to be prone to injuries.

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Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.