Standing electric scooters, commonly referred to as e-scooters, have been increasing in popularity across the country over the past decade. According to a new research abstract presented during the 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, e-scooter injuries are becoming much more common and increasingly severe.
Authors of the abstract, “National Trends in Pediatric e-Scooter Injury,” found hundreds of e-scooter injuries between 2011-2020. The rate of hospital admittance for patients increased from fewer than 1 out of every 20 e-scooter injuries in 2011 to 1 out of every 8 requiring admittance into a hospital for care in 2020.
“The number of annual e-scooter injuries has increased from 2011 to 2020, likely due in some part to the rise in popularity of rideshare e-scooter apps,” said lead author Harrison Hayward, MD, Emergency Medicine fellow at Children’s National Hospital. “Our study has characterized the spectrum of injuries that occur in children, which helps emergency room doctors prepare for taking care of them and helps parents and families to practice better safety.”
Researchers examined a national database of pediatric e-scooter injuries that were seen in emergency departments at over 100 US hospitals from 2011-2020 to find out what kinds of injuries children were sustaining and if any trends existed. Over 10% of all patients had a head injury, including a concussion, skull fractures, and internal bleeding. The most common injuries were arm fractures (27%), followed by minor abrasions (22%) and lacerations needing stitches (17%). The average age was 11.1 years and 59% of patients were male. Admittance to a hospital rose from 4.2% in 2011 to 12.9% in 2020.
“Parents whose children are riding e-scooters need to know how best to be safe. To that end, helmets are a must, since over 10% of the reported cases were head injuries,” said Dr. Hayward. “Children should absolutely be wearing helmets while riding an e-scooter. Research has broadly demonstrated that helmets save lives for bicycle riders, and we should think similarly about e-scooters.”
The authors did not receive financial support for this research.