'Concrete is concrete, no matter where it is': reminder on bike and scooter safety

No helmet, no riding
No helmet, no riding Photo: Getty Images

Safety experts are urging parents to ensure their children always wear helmets when riding bikes, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades after a study revealed the prevalence of head injuries as a result of wheeled sport activities.

The study found 426,000 kids get hurt taking part in wheeled sport activities every year in the United States. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about 50 children every hour are taken to the emergency room with head injuries and broken bones as a result of wheeled sports accidents.

"It's not a matter of if kids are going to fall, it's when they're going to fall," Dr Marcee White of Safe Kids Worldwide told NBC News.

"We want to make sure that when they do fall, they have protective gear on.

"Eleven per cent of emergency department visits were for serious head injuries for wheeled sports injuries."

The group examined 2015 US national data figures for children aged up to 19 years and conducted an online survey with 1600 parents.

Over 60 per cent of parents said they always made their kids wear a helmet when riding their bike, less said they did the same when their child was riding their scooter. And while bike related injuries did fall by 28 per cent between 2005 and 2015, scooter injuries climbed 40 per cent over the same period.

"Concrete is concrete no matter where it is," Dr White said.

"When they do fall, they fall pretty hard."

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The group also warned that while your child might look competent on their scooter, bike or skates, they are at greater risk of hurting themselves for a number of reasons.

"Children aged 14 years and under, and particularly those under age 10, are at greater risk for a fall when on wheels because they have a higher centre of gravity, are less developed physically and have poor balance compared to adults," stated the report.

"They also have slower reactions and are less coordinated than adults, leading to being less able to break their falls.

"Finally, children typically overestimate their skills and abilities and are less experienced in judging speed, traffic and other risks."

So the message is loud and clear: if your child is on wheels, of any sort, make sure they have a well-fitted helmet on at all times.