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Razor Recall Highlights Scooter Safety Concerns

June 15, 2005|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Children are whizzing through neighborhoods on speedy scooters powered by electricity or gasoline -- a growing trend that is putting thousands of youngsters in hospital emergency rooms.

Accidents resulted in an estimated 10,000 emergency room visits from July 2003 to June 2004, the government reported Tuesday in its first scooter study.

About two-thirds of the injured were younger than 15, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found. Sixty percent were male.

"We've seen these injuries occurring all too often," said Gary Smith, an emergency medicine physician in Columbus, Ohio. "Children often are riding in and around traffic, they aren't wearing helmets and they're traveling at high rates of speed."

The product safety agency provided no estimates on scooter sales or use, and new methods of tallying injuries prevented comparisons with previous years. But the agency said the obvious jump in popularity of the mostly two-wheelers prompted the study of related injuries.

Electric scooters have been subject to a handful of recalls in the last year -- including 275,000 on Tuesday.

Cerritos-based Razor USA recalled about 246,000 electric scooters after receiving 261 reports of handlebar welds breaking or bending, which resulted in at least 16 injuries, including three broken arms.

The Fisher-Price division of El Segundo-based Mattel Inc. recalled about 29,000 scooters after wheel problems caused at least two facial injuries and two hand injuries to children.

The agency found that one in five accidents that sent riders to the ER could be blamed on the scooter itself.

The study also found that seven in 10 mishaps might have been prevented if riders were more careful.

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