Surging E-scooter, Bicycle Injuries in Kids: Helmets Could Help

The number of children hospitalized for electronic scooter injuries rose from 4.2% in 2011 to 12.9% in 2020, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The authors of a research abstract, “National Trends in Pediatric e-Scooter Injury,” examined a national database of pediatric e-scooter injuries that were seen in emergency departments at over 100 US hospitals from 2011-2020.

Researchers found that the rate of hospital admittance increased from fewer than 1 out of every 20 e-scooter injuries in 2011 to 1 out of every 8 injuries in 2020.

The most common e-scooter injuries requiring admittance into a hospital for care were arm fractures (27%), minor abrasions (22%), and lacerations needing stitches (17%). More than 10% of all patients had a head injury, including a concussion, skull fractures, and internal bleeding.

According to a research abstract presented during the 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, the average age of patients was 11.1 years, and 59% were male.

“Children should absolutely be wearing helmets while riding an e-scooter. Research has broadly demonstrated that helmets save lives for bicycle riders, and we should think similarly about e-scooters,” Harrison Hayward, MD, Emergency Medicine fellow at Children’s National Hospital and a lead author, said in a statement.

During the conference, the findings of another research abstract, “Pediatric Fractures Associated with Riding Bicycles: A National Twenty-Year Analysis,” were presented.

The study's authors examined information provided in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database from 2001 through 2020. They found an average of 50,975 fractures reported annually, with about 71% of patients being male aged 10 to 15. According to the abstract, 87% of patients with skull fractures were not wearing helmets.

“Given the results of our study, we recommend targeting bicycle safety efforts toward the most affected populations, largely 10- to 15-year-old boys,” said William Huffman, a medical student. “Teaching road and helmet safety for bicycle riders is paramount to keeping children safe.”

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