August 22, 2001 -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today reported 2,250 emergency room-treated injuries associated with motorized scooters in the first 7 months of this year. If injuries continue at this rate, the total estimate for 2001 is expected to show a marked increase over 2000. The first full year in which CPSC collected data on these injuries was 1999. In 2000, there were an estimated 4,390 hospital emergency room treated injuries associated with motorized scooters. This represents more than a 200-percent increase over the 1999 estimate of 1,330 injuries.
CPSC is aware of at least three deaths associated with motorized scooters. Two of the deaths involved children, including a 6-year-old boy in California who died after falling off a motorized scooter and an 11-year-old boy in Pennsylvania who died when the motorized scooter he was riding crashed into a truck. Also, a 46-year-old man died in California after being struck by an automobile. All of the victims suffered head injuries; none was wearing a helmet.
CPSC recommends that riders wear the same safety gear as we recommend for non-powered scooters - a helmet, and knee and elbow pads. Sturdy shoes also are important. CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said, "Common sense requires that riders of all ages understand the importance of protective gear and observing local safety rules. Have fun outside but don't end up in the emergency room."
In 2000, an estimated 39 percent of the injuries occurred to children under 15 years of age. Most injuries occurred to the arms, legs, faces, and heads. The most common injuries were fractures.
Motorized scooters are increasing in popularity. They are two-wheel scooters, similar to the unpowered scooters, but equipped with either a small 2-cycle gasoline engine or an electric motor and a battery. Some manufacturers are retrofitting stocks of non-powered scooters with electric motors. In addition, kits are available to retrofit non-powered scooters. The gasoline-powered scooters usually cost between $400 and $1,300. The electric scooters range from under $200 to about $1,000.
Protective gear, including helmet and knee and elbow pads, is available for less than $35.
CPSC recommends the following safety guidelines:
- Wear a bicycle helmet that meets CPSC's standard, along with knee and elbow pads.
- Wear sturdy shoes.
- Owners of motorized scooters should check with local authorities for riding guidelines and restrictions.
- Do not ride at night.
- Children under 12 should not ride motorized scooters.
(Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission Press Release #01-222, August 22, 2001)
For information about children's safety, please see the following MedicineNet.com articles: