The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that children will have access to potentially dangerous sports equipment regardless of efforts by pediatricians to have all such equipment kept off the market. The latest sports fad to cause an alarming number of injuries to children is skateboarding. Although pediatricians may be unable to prevent the use of skateboards by inexperienced children, they should be aware of the facts related to skateboard injuries and of possible ways to prevent them or decrease their severity.

INJURIES

Number of Injuries

Skateboarding has become an increasingly popular sport. As a result, between 1973 and 1977 there was a 30-fold increase in the number of injuries sustained. In the 12-month period ending June 30, 1977, approximately 106,000 victims sought hospital emergency room treatment for skateboard-related injuries,1 and more than 300,000 injuries are expected to be reported for 1978.

Patterns of Injuries

Most of the trauma from skateboard accidents occurs in the 10-to 14-year age group. One third of the injuries are fractures involving the forearm and lower leg. Another third of the injuries are contusions and abrasions. The rest of the injuries are sprains and miscellaneous problems, including head injuries, concussions, skull fractures, and serious intraabdominal trauma (J. E. McDermott, M.D., personal communication)1.2. In the past four years, at least 25 deaths have occurred, usually following a head injury or collision with a motor vehicle. A recent study showed that protective equipment was usually not worn by the victim at the time of the injury.1

RECOMMENDATIONS

Education and Training

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