Background and aims: Mopeds and scooters have become increasingly popular among Finnish teenagers. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess incidence of and injury patterns associated with moped and scooter accidents in adolescents.
Materials and methods: All 222 patients treated for moped and scooter-related injuries at Helsinki Children's Hospital and Töölö Trauma Centre from January 2002 to December 2007 were included. Information was drawn from patient records and compared with nation-wide Finnish data gathered from public data-bases.
Results: The annual number of patients at our centres increased from 14 to 76 and the pro-portion of girls increased from 7% to 25%. A similar trend was found on a national level. In our material, collisions between mopeds and other motorized vehicles accounted for 52% of accidents, and 33% of patients were injured from falling. Seventy-five percent of patients were hospitalized, and 50% needed at least one procedure requiring general anaesthesia. Five percent of the patients were under the influence of alcohol. Trauma of the head occurred in 22%; helmets did not protect against severe trauma. On a national level the proportion of 15- to 17-year-old road traffic victims has doubled in five years. Among this age group, more than half of all road-traffic accidents involve mopeds and scooters.
Conclusions: Over a time span of six years, moped accidents among adolescents have become very common. Our results suggest that measures should be taken to diminish the number of moped and scooter accidents and to improve driver safety.