New research shows that 26,854 youths were treated in emergency departments for injuries they received while riding hoverboards, also called self-balancing scooters, during the first 2 years the toys were sold in the United States.
For the April 2018 Pediatrics study, "Pediatric hoverboard and skateboard injuries" (published online March 26), researchers analyzed 2015-16 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data and found the highest number of hoverboard injuries occurred among 12-year-old boys.
The body parts most frequently injured were the wrist (19 percent), forearm (14 percent) and head (14 percent), and the most common diagnoses were fractures (40 percent), contusions (17 percent) and strains/sprains (13 percent). Head injuries accounted for 14 percent of all hospital admissions. Although hoverboards were known for spontaneously catching fire before they were required to undergo safety inspection, only three burns were reported in the study—none from the toys' malfunctioning batteries. Two of the burns resulted from patients being scalded while riding a hoverboard in the kitchen and colliding with a pot of boiling water, and the other was a friction burn that developed after a hoverboard ran over the patient's finger.
The study also found 121,398 skateboard injuries among patients under age 18 treated in U.S. emergency departments during the study period. While the majority of hoverboard injuries occurred at home, they found most skateboard injuries occurred on the street. Authors of the study said their findings highlight the importance of injury prevention measures such as wearing helmets and wrist pads while riding either wheeled toy.
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