Hoverboard injuries sent nearly 27,000 children and teens to emergency rooms in 2015 and 2016 amid a craze that saw millions of the self-balancing scooters flooding into the country, according to a new study.
Researchers for the study, published in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics, pulled data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for both the years. Data included demographic information, body regions injured, and admission status.
Of the 26,854 kids treated in emergency rooms in 2015 and 2016, all but three patients suffered injuries related to falls, with wrists being the most commonly injured body part, followed by forearm and head injuries.
The most common injuries by far were fractures, which accounted for 40 percent of the diagnoses. The next most common injuries were contusions (17 percent) and strains or sprains (13 percent).
According to the researchers, 52 percent of the hoverboard injuries involved boys and 48 percent of the cases were girls.
Fortunately, the majority of patients were treated and released the same day. Only three percent of those injured were admitted. Fourteen percent of the kids admitted to the hospital suffered from head injuries.
Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told CBS News in an interview that hoverboards increase the risk of falling because they have a low center of gravity. “Riding one safely requires a good amount of core strength to maintain your balance. It often looks a lot easier to ride one than it really is.”
Dr. Glatter said that many of the hoverboard injuries are also related to distraction.
“I continue to see young teens with head and wrist injuries in the E.R., often the result of being distracted by using a smartphone and listening to music while riding a hoverboard,” he told CBS News.
He also emphasized the importance for kids to wear a helmet if they are going to ride a hoverboard.
“My personal feeling is that they are unsafe, and I would advise parents against allowing their teens and children to ride them,” he told CBS News. “That said, I would advise caution if you do allow your child to ride one. It’s essential that they wear an appropriate and well-fitted helmet, as well as wrist guards with padding to reduce the risk for injury.”