Nearly 50 Kids an Hour Visit an ER Because of Bikes, Scooters, Skates and Skateboards
Serious head injuries, fractures among most common diagnosis for hospital admissions
OK mom and dad, be honest.
Does your child wear a helmet while on a bike?
If not, statistics say you may make a visit to an Emergency Department near you very soon.
A report from Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program found that nearly 40 percent of the 1,600 parents surveyed admitted their child doesn’t always wear a helmet while on wheels.
That’s despite the facts that more than 426,000 children – nearly 50 every hour – visited an emergency department in 2015 due to a wheeled sports-related injury.
- Serious head injuries, including concussions, internal injuries and fractures, made up 11 percent of those ED visits across the four-wheeled sports.
- Fractures to shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist or hand were the most frequent diagnosis for hospital admissions.
- 19 percent of hospital admissions for scooter injuries to children in 2015 were because of a head injury.
While head injuries are a concern, the majority of ED visits for wheeled sports in 2015 were for fractures, contusions and abrasions.
Less than 1 in 5 parents of children who scooter and less than 2 in 5 parents who kids skate said their kids always wear knee or elbow pads. Parents of children who skateboard reported less than 1 in 3 of their children always wear knee or elbow pads and less than 1 in 5 reported always wearing wrist guards.
Safe Kids says, “Between 2005 and 2015, the number of ED visits for bike- and skateboard-related injuries decreased, but visits for skate- and scooter-related injuries increased significantly. In fact, scooter-related injuries shot up by 40 percent over the 10-year period. Worryingly, the survey found that parents were least likely to make children wear a helmet while scootering at only 57 percent.”
From 2010 to 2013, less than 10 percent of patients seen at Cook Children’s for bike injuries had a helmet on and 0 percent of the patients on skates, skateboards and scooters wore a helmet.
Numbers have improved from 2015 to 2017 thanks to community education from groups like Peaks and Ladders, a collaboration between Cook Children’s, the Fort Worth Fire Department and Fort Worth Firefighter Charities.
During the past two years, 25 percent of children admitted for bike injuries wore helmets and it’s up to 10 percent now for kids on skates, skateboards and scooters.
“Those numbers are still too low, but we’ve made some progress,” said Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s. “It’s so important for kids to wear their helmets at all times. Even if they are taking a spin around their block, they need to wear a helmet. Injuries can occur anywhere, even when cars aren’t around. We’ve admitted children who have been injured in their driveways. Even little spills can result in concussions and broken bones.”
Evans said a great way to encourage helmet use is to let your child pick out the helmet and decorate it with stickers and markers to his or her liking. Then, make sure you set the example by wearing your helmet too.
Among parents who say they always wear a helmet, 86 percent say their child also does. However, among parents who say they never wear a helmet, only 38 percent say their child always does.
“With warmer weather ahead, your child will be spending more time on wheels – which means more opportunities for kids to get hurt,” Evans said. “The most important way you can teach your child to be safe is to always wear a helmet."
Safe Kids offers the following tips to help protect your child:
· 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.
For more information: