A new US study has found that teenagers who are Tasered, don't appear to be at any higher risk of injury than adults. Researchers examined data from "real life" altercations between youth and police.
News Medical reports Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers didn't find any differences in the injury rates or types of injuries to youth when compared to adults.
Lead author Alison R. Gardner, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine, says, "We were looking closely for increased risk of cardiac effects and bodily injuries because of the differing body size and build of adolescents, but there were no significant injuries reported for this age group." "There were 20 mild injuries recorded and the majority of these were expected superficial puncture wounds from the weapons' probes."
They examined 2,026 Taser incidents and found that 100, or 4.9 percent, were against adolescent suspects ranging in age from 13 to 17, with an average age of 16. Most were tasered by police during incidents involving civil disturbance, assault, robbery and burglary. Alcohol or other drug intoxication was known or suspected by police in about a third of the cases.
This is the first study to specifically look at the risk for adolescents.
Dr. William P. Bozeman, also of Wake Forest Baptist, conducted the world's first large, independent study of injuries associated with Tasers in 2009. He concluded, "Tasers have been proven to reduce the risk of injury in both suspects and officers and have prevented far more injuries and deaths than they have produced. While no tool is risk free, Tasers are clearly safer than alternate force options available to law enforcement officers such as batons, hand-to-hand combat and firearms, and the appropriate use of Tasers by police officers should be supported."