WASHINGTON — One of the most popular toys this Christmas season is also
one of the most
dangerous if not used properly.
A survey of 20 years of data from the Consumer Product Safety
shows that the simple scooter is the biggest cause of toy-related injuries in
Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide
Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, say 42 percent of injuries to kids
and 17 involve ride-on toys, with foot-powered scooters leading
They may not be as fast as bicycles but the same sort of safety precautions
apply. The scooters in and of themselves are safe, but children need good
protective gear, and little ones need extra supervision in order to remain
“You have to be careful and you have to wear the proper protective equipment
to make sure you are OK,” says Dr. Erik Schobitz, medical director of the
pediatric emergency room at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center in
Schobitz is a triathlete who readily admits a helmet saved his life after a
severe concussion. He says a good solid bike helmet is just as important
for a kid on a scooter.
“The helmet is the most important thing,” he says. “You only have one
head — that’s your brain, that is what is going to get you through the rest
of your life.”
Schobitz says elbow and knee pads are also a good idea, and children should
always ride their scooters on dry, flat services, away from any cars.
Any child under 8 should be carefully supervised.
“We want them where we can
pay attention to them, where we can see them at all times, where they are not
going to get lost and get injured,” he advises.
He uses the guidance with his own children. Schobitz says scooters,
like bikes, are great for kids if they are used right.
He says “a child’s job is really to play and to explore and it is our job as
our parents to make sure it is done safely.”