Elevator-related injuries to older adults in the United States, 1990 to 2006

Gregory K. Steele, Joseph O'Neil, Carrie Huisingh, Gary A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Elevators remain one of the safest forms of transportation; however, they are still associated with deaths and injuries. This study describes the epidemiology of elevator-related injuries among adults aged 65 years and older in the United States between 1990 and 2006, through a retrospective analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Methods: Proportions with 95% confidence intervals were calculated by age group for cause of injury, injured body region, injury type, and locale. Rate ratios with 95% confidence interval were calculated to determine any association between the body region injured, type of injury, and cause of injury categories. Results: There were an estimated 44,870 elevator-related injuries in older adults. The mean age was 79.5 years, and approximately 75% were women. More than half of the injuries (51.4%) were caused from a slip, trip, or fall. Soft-tissue injuries were the most common injury type (48.0%). The upper extremities were the most commonly injured body region (26.2%). Almost 15% (14.5%) of those injured required hospital admission. Of those admitted, more than 40% were for a fractured hip. Conclusions: Injuries associated with passenger elevators occur fairly frequently among older adults, are often associated with slip, trip or falls, and can be severe enough to require hospital admission. Older adults should use caution when stepping on or off an elevator. Awareness of the risk and the circumstances leading to falls allows for better direction of intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Elevator-related injuries
  • Older adult injuries
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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