Kids Health Matters: Avoiding injuries while biking, skateboarding

The National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for nationwide helmet laws, following a 6 percent spike in deadly bike crashes last year.

Bike accidents are just one mishap that sends kids to the ER.

Getting into the great outdoors builds children's physical and emotional fitness. And playing with others hones social skills.

But the CDC says nearly 10 million kids will end up in an emergency department every year from unintentional injuries.

Dr. Kate Cronan, an emergency physician at Nemours duPont Hospital, says there are seasonal swings for some calamities.

Although bicycle injuries peak in summer, they happen in fall, too.

But all too often, the kids weren't wearing helmets.

"When they come in, even if it's not for that injury, I'll say, by the way, do you use your helmet when you use your bike? And they sheepishly look at their parent, and say no," Cronan said.

Dr. Cronan says kids often leave the helmets off if they're on vacation, thinking nothing will happen.

She says helmets are also a must for skateboarding; skaters also need wrist pads and knee pads.

"We can see broken legs, injured legs, or ankle, any part of the leg - foot, ankle, and on up," Cronan said.

A few more pointers:

  • Never ride in the street, or in crowded areas

  • Don't wear headphones while skateboarding


  • And practice falling on a soft surface or grass, so you learn to crouch down and relax while falling.


Dr. Cronan says parents should set the rules for helmets and other safety gear when kids are young.

A just-released study says trampolines are a growing source of injuries - fractures alone rose 71% between 2008 and 2017.

Although most of that is coming in trampoline parks, rather than backyards, the American Academy of Pediatrics still discourages home use.

"To this day, my children are mad at me because I never permitted trampolines," Cronan said.
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