The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that emergency room-treated injuries related to popular lightweight scooters have increased sixteen-fold from May to September 2000. CPSC data show that there were more than 8,000 scooter-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in September alone. There have been 40,500 emergency room-treated injuries reported for 2000, and 5 deaths have occurred so far in 2000-2001. About 85 percent of the injuries are to children under 15 years of age.
CPSC recommends that riders, especially children, wear proper safety gear including a helmet and knee and elbow pads to help prevent injuries. CPSC estimates that more than 60 percent of injuries could be prevented or reduced in severity if protective gear had been worn.
The scooters, which first went on the market in the United States last year, are new versions of the foot-propelled scooters first popular in the 1950s. They are made of lightweight metal such as aluminum and have small low-friction wheels similar to those on in- line skates. They usually cost between $50 and $120 and typically weigh less than 10 pounds. They can be folded for easy portability.
Most injuries resulted when riders fell from the scooter. Fractures and dislocations accounted for about one-quarter of the injuries. Most of the fractures and dislocations were to arms and hands.
The best investment against injury is protective gear which can cost less than $30.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following safety guidelines: