Don't Let Scooter Injuries Spoil Warm Weather Fun
"The children who suffered head trauma did well, but theoretically they might not have. The one child who was hit by a car suffered significant orthopedic injuries and he was fortunate because it could have been worse," according to Levine. So far this year, two children have been killed while riding scooters, according to the CPSC. A 12-year old boy in Florida was struck by a car and a 10-year old boy in Ohio died after falling off a scooter.
Some parents know all too well why helmets are important. Maureen Buckley Jones, an Illinois mom whose 8- and 11-year-old love scootering, says a helmet probably saved her husband's life after he was hit by a car while bike riding and skidded across the pavement on his head.
"We mandate in our family that they absolutely MUST wear a helmet [when scootering]," she says.
Alan Nager, MD, head of the emergency department at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles says of all the scooter injuries he's seen, it's a "rare event" for kids who get hurt to have been wearing either a helmet or protective padding.
Another important thing for parents to keep in mind is that scooters are not appropriate for very young children. The CPSC says children under age 8 should only ride scooters with close adult supervision.
Nager says one reason the number of injuries to younger kids may be increasing is because scooter manufacturers have come out with "junior" versions of scooters that are smaller but still pose the same dangers.
"Just the other day we had a 2-year-old that fell off a scooter and broke one of her ankle bones and of course, she was wearing no protection," Nager says. "There's got to be a fair amount of insistence from the parent that injuries do occur. There's just no excuse [for not wearing protection] because we know that scooters are going to cause injuries."
With the summer months approaching and kids going barefoot or wearing sandals, the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society strongly urges parents to make sure kids wear shoes when scootering. The society estimates that about 11% of scooter injuries involve the foot and ankle, including fractures, sprains, strains, cuts and bruises.