Injury patterns and mechanisms related to refrigerator and freezer utilization in the United States

Matthew C. Hernandez, Eric J. Finnesgard, Joel R. Anderson, Nicholas P. McKenna, Martin D. Zielinski, Johnathon M. Aho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Refrigerators and freezers (R/F) are a common household item and injury patterns associated with these appliances are not well characterized. We aimed to characterize the injury patterns, mechanisms, and affected body parts in patients treated in the emergency departments nationally, hypothesizing that injury patterns would differ by age group. Methods: A retrospective review of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for all patients injured using R/F during 2010–2016 was performed. Patient narrative was reviewed for injury mechanism. Comparative and multivariable analyses were performed with effects reported as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: During the study period (January 1, 2010-December 31, 2016) there were 6913 R/F related injuries. The study cohort was predominantly male 3734 (55%) and the median [IQR] age was 38 [22–56] years. The annual frequency of R/F related injuries was stable between years. The most common injury mechanism was falling while using R/F (31%) followed up injuries sustained while moving the appliance (25%). Teenaged patients more frequently struck the appliance compared to adults (39% vs 14%, p < 0.001). On regression, pediatric and elderly patients, mechanical fall mechanism, and cranial injury were risk factors independently associated with the need for hospitalization. Conclusions: Falls in proximity to R/F were the most common injuries sustained and teenagers were more likely to strike/punch the appliance. Injury prevention efforts should support ongoing efforts of fall risk reduction for elderly populations. Level of evidence: IV. Study type: Retrospective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Adult
  • Fall
  • Freezer
  • Pediatric
  • Refrigerator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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