Scooter Safety: Sales and Injuries Skyrocket
Fourth grader Joe K. is a guy on the go. These days, his favorite means of transportation is a sleek new silver scooter. But as Joe admits with a sheepish grin, he probably spends more time falling off the scooter than staying on it.
Cruisin' for a Bruisin'?
The new lightweight foot-propelled scooters, made of aluminum and folded for easy portability, are in hot demand these days. Though many parents are willing to shell out between $80 and $120 dollars for them, confusion still reigns regarding safety rules.
"I had seen other kids riding without helmets, and I really didn't know how fast he could go on it," admits Jill E., mother of seven year-old William, who received a scooter as a gift this summer. "I thought he'd mostly have one foot on the ground at all times."
Scooter Safety Stats
Scooters seem to be safer than in-line skates, skateboards, or bikes, but the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) begs to differ.
"Unfortunately, many kids are ending up in hospital emergency rooms instead of classrooms," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown earlier this month. "Wearing safety gear can help prevent injuries." Consider these alarming statistics:
- There were more than 4,000 scooter-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms during the month of August alone, nearly half the total number of injuries (9,400) reported for 2000 so far.
- Children under age 15 suffered nearly 90 percent of the injuries.
- Fractures and dislocations accounted for nearly one third of the injuries.
- CPSC estimates 60 percent of injuries could have been prevented if proper safety gear had been worn.
Injury Prevention Guidelines
- Insist on helmets. Tell kids that scooters are no different from bikes or blades.
- Wear knee and elbow pads whenever riding.
- Make sure kids ride on smooth, paved surfaces free of traffic. (Kids may have more trouble stopping a scooter than they do a bike with brakes.)
- Avoid riding after dark.
More on: Childhood Safety