From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
Children, Safety

Think your children are safe riding in a golf cart?

Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Pediatric Surgery

It’s common to see golf carts scooting around neighborhoods. But are children safe while riding in them? In recent months, at least four school-age children have been treated at the Children’s Emergency Center at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands because of injuries associated with golf carts.
While most parents buckle up their children and use child safety seats in their cars, they don’t use that same care with recreational vehicles. Golf carts are not toys, however, and drivers should be educated about the risks they pose. 
Pediatric surgeon Stanton Adkins, MD, of Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Pediatric Surgery, said, “Golf carts are not protective. We are concerned by the increasing number of golf carts we are seeing on public roads, often with unrestrained children riding in them.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 1,000 people are injured every month and the majority of those hurt are children and teens. 
“Most golf carts don’t have seat belts and people don’t wear helmets when riding in them,” said Adkins. “These vehicles generally are not licensed for the road. It is frightening to see people driving down busy major roads with very little protection, especially for child passengers.”
Most injuries occur when the cart tips over or riders are thrown from the carts during sharp turns. About half of golf cart injuries are related to falling or jumping from a golf cart.
Here are some golf cart safety facts:

  • Children are at the highest risk for falls
  • A fall is twice as likely to cause a head or neck injury
  • Rear-facing golf cart seats pose a high risk for falls
  • Golf carts traveling even at slow speeds can eject a passenger during a turn
  • Most golf carts don’t have brakes on all four wheels
  • Most golf carts don’t have seat belts or stability mechanisms
  • Golf carts offer little protection in a collision
  • Golf carts often don’t have lights or reflectors
  • Golf carts should not be operated at night
“Most of our streets and roads do not have golf cart paths. We want to remind parents that children can be seriously injured in and around golf carts, so families should use extra caution with these and other recreational vehicles,” said Adkins.
Learn about current South Carolina golf cart laws here.

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Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands is South Carolina’s first children’s hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina’s only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Prisma Health Children’s Hospital has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Prisma Health Children’s Hospital is the place to go for children’s medical care, because the best care matters. 

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