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To investigate the epidemiology of zipline-related injuries in the United States.

Basic Procedures

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database was used to examine non-fatal zipline-related injuries treated in US emergency departments (EDs) from 1997 through 2012. Sample weights were applied to calculate national estimates.

Main Findings

From 1997 through 2012, an estimated 16850 (95% CI, 13188-20512) zipline-related injuries were treated in US EDs. The annual injury rate per 1 million population increased by 52.3% from 7.64 (95% CI, 4.86-10.42) injuries in 2009 (the first year with a stable annual estimate) to 11.64 (95% CI, 7.83-15.45) injuries in 2012. Patients aged 0-9 years accounted for 45.0% of injuries, females made up 53.1% of injuries, and 11.7% of patients required hospitalization. Fractures accounted for the largest proportion of injuries (46.7%), and the upper extremities were the most commonly injured body region (44.1%). Falls were the most common mechanism of injury, accounting for 77.3% of injuries. Among cases where the location of the injury event was known, 30.8% of injuries occurred in a residential setting and 69.2% occurred in a public place.

Principal Conclusions

This study is the first to characterize the epidemiology of zipline-related injuries using a nationally representative database. The rapid increase in zipline-related injuries in recent years suggests the need for additional safety guidelines and regulations. Commercial ziplines and publicly accessible non-commercial ziplines should be subject to uniform safety standards in all states and jurisdictions across the US, and homemade ziplines should not be used.


Originally published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, December 2015Volume 33, Issue 12, Pages 1745–1749.