Aim: An increasing number of scooter-related injuries is being seen in emergency department. This study was initiated to establish the demographic profile and injury characteristics of the children involved, to examine the circumstances and to suggest preventive measures.
Methods: During this descriptive cohort study, data from year 2000 were collected from all children below 16 y of age who were seen in the emergency department of a Swiss hospital following an accident with an unpowered scooter. Between January and September, information regarding age, gender, injury sustained and medical management was reviewed. From October to December, data were collected prospectively. A questionnaire was sent (January-September) or handed out personally (October-December) to the patients, to gather information on the circumstances surrounding the injury and the use of safety equipment.
Results: Thirty-six children (15M, 21F) were included in the study. The mean age was 8.8 y (range 3.0-15.8 y). The most common injuries involved the face (including six children with dental injuries) (44%) and the head (19%). Thirteen children (36%) (6M, 7F) sustained a fracture. The majority of injuries resulted from falls forward or to the side, caused by a loss of control or collision with an obstacle. Only one patient used any safety equipment.
Conclusion: Accidents with unpowered scooters can produce severe injuries in children. Although the majority of patients sustained minor injuries (e.g. lacerations, contusions), more serious injuries can occur. The head and face were the most vulnerable. The use of protective gear, especially helmets, may reduce the number and severity of injuries. Parents, doctors and healthcare workers should be aware of the causes and prevention of injuries caused by this rapidly growing recreational activity in childhood.