Home Mind & Brain Rising Unpowered Scooter Injuries in Young Boys Lead to More Brain Injuries

Rising Unpowered Scooter Injuries in Young Boys Lead to More Brain Injuries

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A recent study conducted in South Korea has highlighted a concerning increase in unpowered scooter injuries among children, with a significant portion resulting in traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The study, published in the journal Injury, analysed data over an eight-year period and identified key risk factors associated with these injuries, urging the need for improved safety measures and parental supervision.

Researchers from Seoul National University Hospital and other institutions used the Injury In-Depth Surveillance (EDIIS) database for the study. It included data from 3,829 children aged 2–18 who suffered injuries related to unpowered scooters between 2011 and 2018. The findings revealed a substantial increase in the annual rate of unpowered scooter injuries, rising from 1.4 per 1,000 injured patients in 2011 to 16.4 in 2018.

Of the children injured, 9.2% sustained TBIs, with the majority occurring in younger children and males. The study found that children aged between 2 and 5 years had a 37% higher risk of TBI compared to older children. Additionally, boys were 45% more likely to suffer from TBI than girls.

The researchers identified several critical risk factors for TBI among young scooter riders. Children who experienced falls were nearly twice as likely to suffer a TBI compared to those who slipped. Furthermore, injuries occurring on sidewalks and driveways pose a higher risk. The study indicated that children injured on sidewalks had an 80% higher likelihood of TBI, while those injured on driveways were more than twice as likely to sustain such injuries.

The findings underscore the need for heightened safety measures and parental supervision to mitigate the risks associated with unpowered scooters. The researchers recommend that younger children always wear helmets while riding unpowered scooters. Additionally, they emphasise the importance of active supervision by carers, particularly in areas perceived as safe, such as sidewalks, which may lead to a false sense of security and reduced vigilance.

The study highlights the severe and long-term consequences of TBIs in children. These injuries can lead to a range of cognitive and neurobehavioral dysfunctions, significantly impacting a child’s development and quality of life. Long-term symptoms can include impairments in attention and concentration, physical disabilities, and chronic health issues, imposing a substantial burden on families and society .

Despite the rise in unpowered scooter injuries, there are currently no mandatory safety regulations for their use in most countries. This contrasts with electric scooters, for which many countries have implemented safety policies such as mandatory helmet use, age restrictions, and licencing requirements. The researchers call for the establishment of similar regulations for unpowered scooters to protect young riders and prevent TBIs .

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