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.
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: http://www.cpsc.gov/PR/prscoot.html.
Accessed July 18, 2002.