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Head Injuries Tied to Motorized Scooters Are Rising: Study

SUNDAY, June 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Head injuries from riding electric scooters without a helmet are on the rise, a new study reports.

Between 2008 and 2017, nearly 32,000 injuries were estimated nationwide, according to a review of records in the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance system. Accidents tripled from about 2,300 in 2008 to nearly 7,000 in 2017.

Most of those injured were adult men, but a third of the injuries happened to kids between 6 and 12 years of age, researchers said.

The most common injuries were closed head injuries, such as concussions, and bleeding or bruising of the brain, the researchers found. Facial cuts and abrasions were also common.

In accident records that made note of helmet use, 66% of those injured weren't wearing one. Use of helmets increased with age from 19% among toddlers to 67% among senior riders. Helmet laws vary from state to state.

Researchers emphasized that electric scooters aren't toys and can reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

"The United States should standardize electric scooter laws and license requirements should be considered to decrease the risky behaviors associated with motorized scooter use," said study lead author Dr. Amishav Bresler. He's a resident in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.

"In 2000, Italy implemented a law mandating helmet use for all types of recreational scooter drivers -- legislation that reduced head trauma in scooter riders from about 27 out of 10,000 people before the law passed to about 9 out of 10,000 people afterward," Bresler said in a Rutgers news release.

The report was published online recently in the American Journal of Otolaryngology.

More information

The consumer safety group Safer America provides electric scooter safety tips.

SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, June 2019

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