March is Brain Injury Awareness month, a perfect time to brush up on safety before pulling that new hoverboard out of the garage. Hoverboards, in case you missed the buzz, are a new type of electric scooter that can reach speeds of 12 miles per hour. Staying upright at that speed on a two-wheeled platform, especially for the novice rider, can be a bit of a challenge, adding to the fun—and the falls.
Not surprisingly, hoverboard accidents have been linked to an increase in pediatric emergency room visits, many involving traumatic and nontraumatic brain injuries. Novice users unfamiliar with the dangers of hoverboards are suffering the more severe injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can impair a person’s thinking, memory, movement and sensation (hearing and seeing). They can even cause emotional issues, including depression and personality changes. Nearly 2.5 million children and adults in the U.S. sustain a traumatic brain injury each year.
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Any kind of bump, jolt or blow to the head can be serious, so be sure to exercise caution whether your child is on a hoverboard, bicycle, scooter, skateboard, inline skates or an all-terrain vehicle.
Play It Safe When on the Go
- Wear a proper-fitting helmet that meets the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Clip the helmet strap at all times and be sure the chin strap is snug.
- Wear brightly colored clothes to be seen by people in cars and other pedestrians.
- Wear knee and elbow pads.
- Avoid the street, if possible, and instead stay on sidewalks or paved paths.
- Read the owner’s manual to ensure safe operation and reduce accident risk.
- Do not text or use a cellphone while operating an activity board or recreational vehicle.
- Do not use earbuds or headphones, which can prevent you from hearing vehicles and other people.
Your child’s “playbook” should not include a brain injury, so an emphasis on safety can keep the joys of childhood and the exploration of growing up a happier experience for the entire family.
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