Did you know that kids have been using scooters since the 50’s? Well, scooters such as Radio Line scooters showed up on the market in the 1950’s but unlike the scooters of today, they were not made of lightweight aluminum as many of them are now. And if you were to do a search on the scooters from this time period, you will likely come across a few black and white images of children riding their scooters without any safety gear on.
Unfortunately since that time, many children have learned the hard way that just like with bikes or skateboards, several safety measures are necessary for when riding scooters around the neighborhood or in parks.
Common Scooter-Related Injuries
As scooters have become more popular over the years, they have also become the cause of more visits to the emergency room. According to the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, there are thousands of children that end up in the ER for scooter accidents each year with 67,000 children who have gone to the emergency room because of scooter-related accidents since scooters have been around. More than 59,000 of these accidents happened on manual scooters.
Health officials across the country have seen an increase in scooter-related accidents and injuries with most of the injuries occurring among boys under the age of 15. While injuries can be as small as minor cuts and bruises, most are serious injuries such as broken bones and head injuries.
In fact, the most common injuries are fractures or dislocations to the arm or hand, followed by cuts, bruises, strains, and sprains. Nearly half of all injuries are to the arm or hand, while almost one-fourth are to the head and another fourth are to the leg or foot. Deaths directly related to scooter accidents, while more rare, have also happened.
This is why it is so important for parents to understand the risks and learn what safety measures are necessary to keep your kids safe while riding their scooters. Matthew Haines, father of pro scootering prodigy Krazy Kai, has provided some guidance on scooter rules and safety gear, which we will share below.
Use a Properly-sized Scooter
A properly-sized scooter is the first safety priority to take into consideration before a child sets foot on a scooter. Why? Because kids riding scooters that are not suitable for their age and height leads to more falls and injuries. This is actually the primary reason why the handlebar heights are adjustable on most kids’ models.
However, your kids’ experience and capability will also determine what scooter they feel most comfortable on.
Get Quality Scooter Safety Gear
It is so important to avoid cheap safety gear and go for certified models instead. This will ensure that if and when your child falls, he or she will be extra protected. Let’s take a look at all the safety gear your child should wear every time they are ready to ride their scooter.
Long Sleeves and Pants
This may sound simple but it makes a difference. Long sleeves and pants definitely help avoid many scrapes on their skin.
When children fall off their scooters they may come down pretty hard. Fortunately, certified helmets are the best protection against head or brain injuries. Pro-Tec is a highly-recommended helmet manufacturer.
Knee Pads and Elbow Pads
Even with long sleeve shirts and pants, you don’t want to skip out on putting these on. A few seconds of your time to get these put on will give you peace of mind.
These protect kids from grazed knuckles and palms. There is a large variety of riding gloves available, but anything with knuckle pads and padding on the palms is great.
If your child is getting into stunt riding at the local skatepark, then hip pads need to be part of your safety gear. They provide padding for legs, hips, and pelvis and are to be put on underneath long pants. For small children, skiing or skateboarding pads are recommended.
These safety accessories have saved many children from breaking their bones. That is why it should be emphasized to them to put these on every time they are about to ride their scooters, even if it’s just around the block.
Further Scooter Safety Recommendations
- Children should not use a scooter if they do not have enough balance or coordination yet. A child under the age of 8 should not use a scooter.
- Parents should show the safety features of the scooter such as safety gear and brakes to a child before a child rides a scooter. Parents should then watch the child ride the scooter in a safe, open area.
- Before riding be sure to check that the steering column and handlebars are locked into place. Also check that all nuts and bolts are tight before using the scooter.
- Children should wear proper shoewear that won’t fall off and will protect the top and bottom of their feet. Sneakers are the most protective option. Do not let them ride in flip-flops.
- Avoid dangerous ground or bad weather including:
- Steep hills
- Slippery, sandy, or icy surfaces
- Streets or any place where there are cars, buses, or trains
- Do not use a scooter at dawn, dusk or at night where it would be hard for cars to see them.
- Do not do any stunts or jumps.
Stay Safe and Have Fun
Kids may see all these safety rules are taking the fun out of riding their scooters, but as parents you can teach them why their safety is important and how they could still have fun. You don’t have to share all the statistics proving that many injuries might be prevented or reduced if they wear their safety gear, but it would not hurt to mention how helmets can prevent 85 percent of head injuries, elbow pads can prevent 82 percent of elbow injuries, and knee pads can prevent 32 percent of knee injuries. To learn more about fun ways to stay active yet safe, visit The Learning Experience’s Bubbles and Friends YouTube channel here.