Bicycle/in-line skating/skateboarding safety - identifying high-risk situations
Most crashes involving children on bicycles, in-line skates, or skateboards occur because the child breaks a traffic rule. The majority of bicycle-related fatal crashes involve collision with a motor vehicle.
|However, when children wear helmets while riding their bikes, they can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent (head injury is the most common cause of death in bicycle-related deaths).|
|In-line skating has rapidly gained popularity since off-season ice hockey players began practicing with them in the 1980's. It is estimated by the National Safety Council that there are 20 million in-line skaters annually (all ages). According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, more than 67,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 were treated for injuries from in-line skating crashes and more than 58,000 children were treated for injuries from roller-skating crashes. |
In-line skating crashes can occur even if the child is experienced in the sport. High-risk situations for in-line skaters include the following:
As with bicycles, helmets can protect the in-line skater from serious, sometimes fatal, head injuries. In addition, other safety gear such as elbow and kneepads, gloves, and wrist guards can also minimize injuries in the event of a fall.
|Skateboards, though popular among children and adolescents, send an estimated 50,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment of injuries each year, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. The most common injury from a skateboard crash is a fracture, although some skateboard falls or collisions with motor vehicles can be fatal. |
Most skateboard crashes occur because of irregular riding surfaces. In addition, inexperience (a skateboarder who has been skating for less than a week) accounts for one-third of all injuries. An injury to the wrist (sprain or fracture) is the most common result of a fall.
Helmets and other protective gear, such as slip-resistant, closed shoes, wrist braces, and other padding may help reduce the severity of injuries in the event of a fall.
Skateboarding injuries on the rise
Skateboarding injuries are on the rise, after a downward trend from 1987 to 1993. According to a 2002 study that used data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), there has been a significant increase in skateboarding injuries over the past decade (with a continued average increase of 16,500 injuries). This increase could be attributed to the changing form of skateboarding. In the 1980s, the skateboarding style was called "vert," which involved the use of 10-foot-high ramps.
More recently, the skateboarding style is known as "street skating," which means cruising through public streets and using lower ramps with increasingly complex stunts and tricks. However, many of these injuries can be prevented with basic safety equipment, according to the researchers.
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