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Scooter Injuries Skyrocket

One of the most popular holiday gift items in December of 2000 is the non-motorized, Razor-style push scooter. These scooters are made of lightweight aluminum, they are foldable for portability and storage, and they cost between $50 and $150.

Sales of Razor-style scooters were almost zero in 1999, and most industry experts predict that in 2000, the number of units sold will be between 2 and 5 million.

The phenomenal growth of scooter sales in 2000 has also meant a parallel growth in the number of injuries related to scooter accidents. According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), injuries associated with Razor-style scooters increased dramatically in 2000.

Injury Statistics

Between January and November of 2000, there were more than 30,000 scooter-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms, and almost 9,000 of those were in September. Scooter injuries in the United States increased almost 1,800% between May and September of 2000.

In September of 2000, for the first time, the number of injuries related to scooter accidents was greater than the number of injuries related to inline skating accidents

According to CDC and CPSC injury statistics for 1998 - 2000:

  • 85% of scooter injuries in the United States were to children less than 15 years old, and 23% were to children younger than 8 years old.

  • Two-thirds of those injuries were to males.

  • 30% of those injuries were hand or arm fractures. The second most common injury was to the head or face, and the third most common injury was to the leg or foot.

CDC and CPSC also report that at least 2 deaths occurred as a result of scooter accidents: One where an adult fell and struck his head while showing his daughter how to ride a scooter, and another when a 6 year old boy rode into traffic and was struck by a car.

Why So Many Injuries?

One reason there are so many scooter injuries, is that unlike the push scooters of 10 and 20 years ago, the new scooters have low-friction, freely rolling wheels made of polyurethane. These wheels are very similar to the wheels made for inline skates. Because more speed is possible with this type of scooter wheel, the Razor-style scooters are more dangerous than older scooter models.

Another reason for the high number of injuries, is that most scooter riders do not wear the proper body protection. Children and adults should always wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads when riding a scooter.

There is one dilemma that makes a scooter riding inherently dangerous. Nearly one third of all scooter injuries are hand or wrist fractures, but it is not safe to wear skating wrist guards for scooter riding, because they make it difficult to grip the handle of a scooter and steer properly. This is one reason the U.S. government recommends that children under the age of 8 should not ride Razor-style push scooters without close adult supervision.

One thing you can do to reduce the danger of riding a scooter, is to purchase one of the heavier, more expensive push scooters with larger wheels. The typical Razor-style scooter is very lightweight and has relatively small wheels. Because of these small wheels, Razor-style scooters do not ride well over cracks in the pavement. The heavier scooters are not as portable Razor-style scooters, but they will ride over cracks more smoothly, and they often have a hand-brake instead of the "step on the wheel" braking system built into most Razor-style scooters.

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