Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Ready to Ride? Report finds 50 kids an hour head to ER for wheeled-sports injuries

Posted May 16

As we close in on summer break - prime time for bike, scooter, roller skating and skateboard riding - a new report reveals some good news and bad news about just how safe our kids are as they take to the sidewalks and streets.

And they might just make you rethink letting your kids ride around the driveway ... or down the sidewalk ... on their scooters without a helmet.

Here's some good news from the report, Ready for the Ride: Keeping Kids Safe on Wheels:

  • Between 2005 and 2015, bicycling injuries dropped by 28 percent and skateboarding injuries went down by 8 percent.
  • Helmet use is on the rise.

The bad news ... and there's a lot more bad news:

  • Nearly 40 percent of parents of kids ages 5 to 14 say their children don't always wear a helmet while on wheels.
  • About 50 kids an hour went to the emergency room in 2015 because of an injury while riding a bike, scooter or skateboard or skating.
  • While bike and skateboard injuries were down, skating-related injuries were up by 4 percent and scooter-related injuries shot up a whopping 40 percent.
  • Nearly 20 percent of hospital admissions for scooter-related injuries were because of head trauma.
  • But, despite the growing number of scooter-related injuries, only 57 percent of parents say their children always wear a helmet while on a scooter.

The report, from Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide's Make Safe Happen program, surveyed 1,600 parents of kids ages 5 to 14. It also found that when parents always wear a helmet, so do kids - almost 90 percent of the time. But, when parents never buckle that chin strap, their kids wear a helmet less than 40 percent of the times they hop on a bike, scooter or skateboard.

According to the report, about 50 percent of parents said they don't require helmets because they don't think they're necessary; they believe the area is safe; or they think their child is experienced and doesn't need one.

The other reasons kids aren't wearing a helmet will be familiar to just about any parent.

In about 30 percent of the cases, the child refused to wear the helmet because it was "uncomfortable." Other reasons kids aren't donning a helmet: Because other kids aren't wearing one and a belief that helmets aren't "cool."

"We know that kids follow their parents lead, and if they see their parents wearing their helmets, it's much more likely they'll do so as well," said Torine Creppy, Interim President at Safe Kids Worldwide, in a press release. "And just making sure that kids have a comfortable, properly-fitted helmet will do wonders to keep that helmet in place and give kids a safe ride."

So, what should parents too? According to the report's authors, the American Academy of Pediatrics and countless safety experts: Make sure your kids are wearing a helmet - regardless of how long or short the ride is going to be. (I make my daughter wear one even when she's doing circles in the driveway on her scooter).

The report makes these recommendations on making sure our kids stay safe:

  • Wear properly-fitted helmets, which are the best way to prevent head injuries and death, for every ride.
  • Ride in safe locations like sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes whenever possible.
  • Follow the rules of the road.
  • Check all equipment at the start or end of every season.
  • Ride together until kids are comfortable enough to ride on their own.

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