Most kick scooter injuries in children and adolescents can be easily treated

According to a study by the Pediatric Research Center and the University of Helsinki, most kick scooter injuries, which have become more common due to the increased popularity of kick scooters, are mild. The benefits of kick scooting still overweigh the potential risks of the hobby.

Kick scooters are a convenient way to get around in the summertime, and they are also used to learn a variety of skills and tricks by active enthusiasts. As the hobby has become more popular, more injuries requiring hospital treatment have been observed. However, they prove to be easy to treat, according to the research results.

The kick scooting study is the first part of the dissertation of Jani Unkuri, Licentiate in Medicine, where he studies not only kick scooters but also other means of conveyance.

Frequency and types of injuries due to kick scooting in children and adolescents treated at the Children’s Hospital, the Töölö Hospital and the Jorvi Hospital were studied. The researchers assumed that older children (aged 11 to 15) would have more severe injuries than younger children (aged 7 to 10).

The researchers reviewed medical records from 2008–2013. During the six-year period, the three medical centres treated a total of 171 children and adolescents who had been injured while riding a kick scooter. The number of patients per year increased from seven (2008) to 55 (2013).

Boys injure themselves – no signs of increase in more severe injuries
Most of the patients treated at the hospitals were male (78%) and almost half of them were between the ages of 9 and 12. Half of the patients in the age group of 9 to 10 were female, but the share of girls was clearly lower in the other age groups.
Most of the injuries were mild fractures and contusions. Most of the injuries were sustained when the child or young person accidentally fell on his or her own accord. Most of the patients (69%) were diagnosed with a fracture, but only 26 of them (15%) needed surgical treatment under anaesthesia.

Nine of the patients were injured when hitting a vehicle (3 cases), a solid object (3) or another kick scooter (2) or bicycle (1), and one fell from the height of 1.5 metres.

The nature of the injuries was assessed by using the Pediatric Trauma Score (PTS) and the Injury Severity Score (ISS). The trauma scores of the kick scooter injuries were low: only one of the patients sustained a cranial injury classified as severe (ISS >15).

“We did not find any signs of an increase in severe injuries from the extensive research data spanning over the course of six years. On the basis of the findings, kick scooting seems to be a safe way to increase physical activity of children and adolescents. Kick scooting is a recommended form of physical activity for children,” says Silja Kosola, an associate professor in adolescent medicine at the University of Helsinki. She is the dissertation mentor for Jari Unkuri.

Children need to move
Injuries of the head are the most common cause of long-term illness and death for children and adolescents. Kosola says that children should be encouraged to use a helmet and other protective gear whenever necessary.
“Hopefully, parents dare to allow their children to live a physically active life regardless of the minor risk of injury. Kick scooting is a great way to develop your motor skills and physical activity,” Kosola concludes.

Kick scooter injuries in children and adolescents: minor fractures and bruise. The article was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Surgery. Researchers: J. H. Unkuri, P. Salminen and P. Kallio from the HUS Children’s Hospital and S. Kosola from the Helsinki University and the Pediatric Research Center.


Text by Vuokko Maria Nummi