Rollerblade And Scooter Safety Tips

By Christopher Freer, DO

Child on ScooterAs the weather gets warmer, children will once again be outside playing which of course involves rollerblades and scooters. The number one reported reason for trips to the emergency room, for either activity, is injury to the arms, wrists and hands that occurs when no protective gear is worn.

Christopher Freer, DO, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and a partner of eMedical Offices, says in-line skating and scooter accidents significantly increase in the spring and summer. During this time of year, the Pediatric Emergency Department sees about six to 10 injuries a day from in-line skating and scooter injuries.

“The incidence of severe head injury from scooter and in-line skating can be up 10-fold for those children who do not wear helmets and disregard safety guidelines,” Dr. Freer says.

To help your child make safety his or her first priority, The Saint Barnabas Pediatric Emergency Department offers parents the following information regarding the proper precautions that should be taken before their children strap on their skates or jump on their scooters.

Gearing Up for Fun

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Remember to securely fasten knee and elbow pads and wrist protection
  • Wear the proper shoes and make sure they are laced up tight
  • Keep equipment well-maintained and make sure it is in proper working order before use

In-Line Skating and Rollerblading

  • Master the basics – striding, stopping and turning
  • Try to avoid traffic but when in traffic, obey all traffic regulations including skate on the right, pass on the left and yield to pedestrians
  • Watch out for road hazards
  • Skate under control at all times
  • Avoid water, oil and sand
  • Avoid hills and declines until ready to handle them

Scooter Riding

  • Never ride at dusk or night
  • Avoid wet road conditions
  • Begin at speeds and angles with which you are comfortable
  • Learn to stop by using rear fender breaks or by putting one foot on the ground
  • Do not take dangerous chances on water, speed bumps or gravel
  • Never ride in traffic
  • Always yield to pedestrians
  • When about to pass, always announce your intentions by saying, “passing on your left”

Of the approximately 87,000 patients treated in the Saint Barnabas Emergency Department each year, about 25,000 are children.

Christopher Freer, DO, is chairman of emergency medicine at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ. This article was originally published in Barnabas Today.

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