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Tips to Keep Skateboarders and Scooter Riders Safe

Tips to Keep Skateboarders and Scooter Riders Safe

As skateboarders and scooter riders take to the streets this summer, the risk of serious injuries related to these sports increases. Most of those injured are children and adolescents. To help you protect your young patients this summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed recommendations for the safe use of skateboards and scooters.1

Each year, skateboard-related injuries are responsible for about 50,000 emergency department (ED) visits and 1500 hospitalizations among children and adolescents in the United States. The recent increase in the popularity of lightweight non-motor-powered scooters has been accompanied by a rise in the number of injuries related to their use; they were responsible for an estimated 84,400 ED visits between January and September 2001—up from 40,500 during the same months in 2000.2

Young children are at greater risk for injury than older children because they have a higher center of gravity, a less developed neuromuscular system, poor judgment, and limited ability to break a fall. Thus, the AAP recommends that children younger than 5 years should not ride skateboards and those between 6 and 10 years of age should not ride unsupervised. Children younger than 8 years should not ride scooters. The Table lists other safety recommendations.

  Table — Safe skateboarding and scooter riding tips
Skateboarding tips
  • Advise all skateboarders to wear helmets as well as wrist guards and protective padding for elbows and knees. Encourage parents to buy a helmet that meets either the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standard or the Snell Memorial Foundation standard.
  • Emphasize that skateboards should never be ridden in or near traffic. Holding on to the side or rear of a moving car while skateboarding is particularly dangerous.
  • Encourage the use of skateboarding parks. These facilities are usually monitored for safety, and they are removed from pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic.

Scooter riding tips
  • Strongly recommend that riders wear helmets and protective padding for elbows and knees.
  • Warn against riding scooters in the street, around cars, or at night.

Adapted from Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention. Pediatrics. 2002.1


1. Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention. Skateboard and scooter injuries. Pediatrics. 2002;109:542-543.
2. US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Scooter data. Available at: Accessed July 18, 2002.

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