WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today reported that emergency room-treated injuries related to popular lightweight scooters have increased 700 percent since May. CPSC data show that there were more than 4,000 scooter-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in August alone. There have been more than 9,400 emergency room-treated injuries reported for 2000 so far. Nearly 90 percent of the injuries are to children under 15 years of age.
CPSC recommends that riders, especially children, wear proper safety gear including a helmet, and knee and elbow pads to help prevent injuries. This is the same safety gear CPSC recommends for in-line skating. Knee pads can help prevent knee injuries. CPSC estimates that more than 60 percent of injuries could be prevented or reduced in severity if protective gear had been worn. "These scooters are the 'in' thing with kids heading back to school," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Unfortunately, many kids are ending up in hospital emergency rooms instead of classrooms. Wearing safety gear can help prevent injuries."
The scooters, which first went on the market in the United States last year, are new versions of the foot-propelled scooters first popular in the 1950s. They are made of lightweight metal such as aluminum and have small low-friction wheels similar to those on in-line skates. They usually cost between $80 and $120 and typically weigh less than 10 pounds. They can be folded for easy portability.
Most injuries resulted when riders fell from the scooter. Fractures and dislocations accounted for 29 percent of the injuries. Most of the fractures and dislocations were to arms and hands.
The best investment against injury is protective gear which can cost less than $35.
CPSC recommends the following safety guidelines:
- Wear a helmet that meets CPSC's standard, along with knee and elbow pads.
- Ride the scooters on smooth, paved surfaces without any traffic. Avoid streets, or surfaces with water, sand, gravel or dirt.
- Do not ride the scooter at night.