CHOP Researchers Find Pediatric E-Scooter Injuries Rose More than 70% from 2020 to 2021

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Presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual conference, the findings show the injuries were most prevalent among teenage boys

The number of injuries associated with riding electric scooters (e-scooters) rose dramatically from 2020 to 2021, according to new research from orthopaedic experts at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The research, presented at the 2023 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC, found that e-scooter injuries rose by 71% over the study period, with teenage boys making up the majority of injuries.

“At CHOP, the Division of Orthopaedics is committed not only to treating injuries that result from unfortunate events like e-scooter accidents but also to preventing those accidents from happening in the first place,” said senior abstract author J. Todd Lawrence, MD, PhD, an attending pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at CHOP. “This work emphasizes the importance of educating parents and young riders about the potential risks of e-scooters, as well as safety measures they can take to prevent serious injury.”

Led by University of Pennsylvania medical student Radhika Gupta, the researchers analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database (NEISS) from 2020 to 2021 to assess the injury risk associate with the use of e-scooters among those under 18. Over the 2-year study period, U.S. emergency departments reported 13,557 injuries related to e-scooters within the pediatric population. The number of injuries rose from 5,012 in 2020 to 8,545 in 2021, an increase of 71%.

Additionally, the researchers found that:

  • A majority of those sustaining e-scooter injuries were white males ages 16 to 18;
  • Most injuries were reported in the spring and summer;
  • The most common injury was fracture, and the most injured body part was the head;
  • Of those patients who were asked about helmet use, only 32% reported wearing a helmet at the time of injury;
  • Among patients with head injuries, nearly 67% were not wearing a helmet at the time of injury; and
  • Nearly 15% of all cases mentioned motor vehicle involvement, and almost 10% of cases mentioned hitting obstacles such as uneven ground or potholes.

The researchers say their findings highlight the need for public safety measures, including creating bicycle and scooter lanes, ensuring even pavement in riding areas, promoting helmet use, and educating motor vehicle drivers on how to maintain safe distances from those on e-scooters. They also suggest there are steps parents and e-scooter riders can take to make the use of e-scooters safer.

Learn more about this research here.

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