Study shows that go-cart accidents may cause serious injuries to children requiring overnight stays in a hospital.

Go-cart accidents may cause serious injuries or death for children, Washington attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Go-kart injury

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Study: Go-Kart Injuries Common and Serious

Parents who are considering buying go-karts for their children this holiday season beware: children who are hospitalized because of go-cart accidents require an average hospital stay of about five days, according to a new study.

Furthermore, more than half of the children hospitalized required at least one operation and almost a third required two or more operations.

"Many parents don't seem to be aware of the potential dangers of private go-karts," said David Cline, an emergency medicine specialist at Wake Forest University Baptists Medical Center and one of the study researchers. "Many of these injuries were severe, and all children required follow-up care after they left the hospital."

The information on go-cart injuries was part of a larger study of 160 children ages 16 and under who were admitted to the hospital from April 1998 to April 2003 as a result of injuries from all-terrain vehicles, go-carts, mini-bikes and golf carts.

Private go-carts are largely unregulated

While public go-cart tracks have safety restrictions, privately owned go-carts are largely unregulated. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 10,000 go-cart injuries to children 15 and younger occur each year.

"Unsupervised children have the potential to sustain serious injuries," Cline said.

Injuries were the result of collisions with stationary objects or moving vehicles or losing control of the go-cart and rolling over. Some children were ejected from the go-cart and then struck by either another vehicle or their own go-cart.

In one case, a child had leg fractures when his leg and foot were caught between the cart frame and a tree. In another, the driver ran into the rear of a parked truck. Another plunged off an embankment onto concrete. Another child's finger was nearly severed when the go-cart flipped and his hand was caught under the cart and wheel.

Five of the injury cases involved go-kart passengers who were sitting in someone else's lap or standing in the vehicle.

A variety of dangers

Cline said go-karts pose a variety of dangers, such as exposed gas tanks, machinery and engines and no protection for the head, arms and legs. 

"With the exception of seat belts, none of the safety features that are built into cars are included on go-karts," Cline said.  

Children should not be allowed to operate the carts without adult supervision because they lack the maturity to safely operate these vehicles without supervision.

Accident reports from 12 state regulatory agencies (Saferpark Database)

The highest frequency of amusement ride accidents by body part, ride type, and accident type reveal that go-cart accidents have the one of the highest frequency rates for injuries to the arm, back, foot, hand, head, face, leg, neck, and shoulder.

The only other ride that ranks consistently higher for frequency of injury to the various body parts is the coaster.

Five ways to help avoid a go-cart accident
  1. Stay away from other bumper cars. If you give others space, you can minimize your chances of crashing because you'll both have more time to react. Stay especially far from children; they may either think crashing into people is a game, or may have no idea what they're doing.
  2. Take the inside corners of turns so people can't clip you from behind.
  3. Don't let people get directly in front of you; they may stop unexpectedly, causing you to crash in the back of them.
  4. Move to the side to avoid crashes if they get directly in front of you. Stop for awhile if that's the only way to give yourself more room.
  5. Warn the operator of the ride if someone is giving you an especially hard time.


Andrew Kim Law Firm, PLLC

Call 1-800-636-3676 for free consultation, go-cart accident injury claims, serious injuries, paraplegic, quadriplegic, death, Washington personal injury attorney, all-terrain vehicles, mini-bikes and golf carts accidents.