Authors of a new study published in Clinical Pediatrics found that ride-on toys, like foot-powered scooters, accounted for nearly 35 percent of toy-related injuries and 42.5 percent of toy-related hospital admissions.
This is an alarming statistic considering the number of children who own and use these types of scooters on a regular basis. Because of the high rate of injury associated with these toys, it’s important to use the same safety precautions as you would on a bicycle.
Follow Age Limits
If a toy is rated for a certain age, be sure your child is of that age before they use it. Even if you feel your child is capable of using the toy, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Waiting to let them use a toy, especially one known for causing injuries, is extremely important.
Inspect the Toy
Before your child uses any toy, be sure to inspect it for any defects to reduce the risk of injury. This is especially true for foot-powered scooters. Check the wheels and any moving parts to make sure they operate the way they should.
Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent serious injury as a result of these toys. If your child has a bike helmet or a skateboard helmet, have them use it every time they use a foot-powered scooter.
Wear Protective Gear
In addition to a helmet, children should also wear protective gear such as knee and elbow pads, as well as wrist guards. Any other additional protective gear would also be helpful.
Operating the Scooter
Before you allow them to use it on their own, take the time to teach them how to use their scooter. Make sure they understand how to slow down and stop, as well as how to turn. Additionally, show them what kind of surfaces might make it more difficult to navigate on, such as gravel or grass. Some additional tips include…
- Use the scooter on the right side of a bike path
- Stay out of the street
- Avoid hills where it’s easy to lose control
- If on a sidewalk, be aware of cars backing out of driveways
- Don’t crouch down on the scooter because it makes it more difficult for cars to see them
- Don’t ride down your driveway because they can inadvertently wind up in the street
Supervision is Key
As with any activity, keeping an eye on your children is the best way to keep them safe. If you notice they are doing something that is potentially dangerous, you can stop them right away. Additionally, if an accident does happen, it allows you to respond as quickly as possible.