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Say 'Aaah' | Kid Health

Scoot on Out of Here (but Be Careful)

September 18, 2000|Emily Dwass

Watch out; they're everywhere! Kids on scooters are taking over the planet. Or at least the sidewalks, streets, parks and, sometimes, malls.

There's no doubt that the new lightweight, foot-propelled scooters are fast and fun, but they also can be dangerous. As scooters have become more popular, injuries have skyrocketed. In August alone, more than 4,000 scooter-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms.

"Just yesterday, I took care of a kid who fell on his head," said Dr. Alan Kuban, director of the emergency department at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center.

The patient had to have stitches, which probably could have been avoided if he had been wearing a helmet approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Wrist guards, knee and elbow pads are also recommended.

Kids should never ride scooters in traffic or at night, says safety commission spokesman Ken Giles, adding that they should ride only on smooth pavement, not on sand, dirt, gravel or in water.

The commission recommends that kids younger than 8 ride only if they have adult supervision. And while they're scooting around, they should remember to watch out for other people.

Even more dangerous than foot-propelled scooters are motorized ones. It's illegal for kids under 16 to ride motorized scooters on public streets. (Check with your local police department for additional rules.)

Says Det. Joseph Jakl of the L.A. County Sheriff Department: "There's really nothing between you and the pavement to prevent you from getting seriously injured."

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Kids and other readers can e-mail Emily Dwass at emilydwass@yahoo.com. Kid Health runs the third Monday of the month.

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