Thumbnail Image

Scootering on: An investigation of children’s use of scooters for transport and recreation

Non-motorised scooters have increased significantly in popularity over the last few years in New Zealand, following similar trends in the US, Australia, Canada and Europe. Non-motorised scooters are an important source of recreation, transport and exercise and children of all ages enjoy riding them to and from school and in skate parks. Along with the increase in popularity and use of the scooters, New Zealand is also experiencing a considerable increase in the numbers of injuries to children, with a notable spike in ACC claims in the 2011-12 year. Whilst most of the injuries are moderate – dislocations, fractures, lacerations and soft-tissue injuries – an increase in the number of severe injuries, and at times, even fatalities is also evident. Boys tend to be injured more frequently than girls and the median age for injury is nine years. Most injuries occur at home, with public roads the next most likely location. International literature shows similar trends world-wide. Numbers of scooter injuries are escalating and an intervention to minimise harm and reduce risk is considered imperative in all regions. The evidence shows that children are not wearing protective equipment (such as helmets) when travelling on a non-motorised scooter and there is no legal requirement for them to do so. Elbow and knee pads – and even footwear – were conspicuously absent amongst children observed in fieldwork undertaken for this project. Children routinely use basic scooters for activities unsuited to their design and on terrain that poses further risks. It was also evident that children scootering to school were not subject to the same regulations as those cycling to school and there appears to be a general lack of awareness of the risks associated with scootering. We therefore propose the following recommendations as means by which we might minimise the risks and reduce harm to children: o Amend the current cycle helmet legislation to include the riders of all wheeled recreational devices, irrespective of the age of the rider; o Introduce school policies requiring that helmets and footwear are worn when scootering to and from school; o Implement a minimum age for scootering to and from school; o Extend the coverage of existing school training programmes on road safety in general and safe scootering in particular; o Require compulsory distribution of point-of-sale information packs on the risks of scooters and the protective equipment options available; o Ensure continued funding of current community resources and training initiatives o Further research on scooter accidents and associated risk factors
Commissioned Report for External Body
Type of thesis
Wolfaardt & Campbell, M. (2013). Scootering on: An investigation of children’s use of scooters for transport and recreation. 2012/13 Summer Research Scholarship report for the Child Injury Prevention Foundation New Zealand (CIPFNZ). Hamilton, New Zealand: Department of Societies and Cultures, University of Waikato.
Department of Societies and Cultures, University of Waikato
© 2013 Trish Wolfaardt and Maxine Campbell