As E-Bikes and E-scooters popularity have increased, so have the emergency room visits for injuries from these devices. These electric modes of transport have become more common over the last few years, but some dangers must be accounted for so that you can protect your child from potentially serious injury.
Let’s talk about e-scooters first. You may not have one at home but if your family travels to a city that rents them, or your child goes to college where they are becoming more common, you may find your child wanting to ride them. These scooters can travel as fast as 15-20 mph, so if your child falls off, he will get hurt – most commonly with cuts, head injuries, and fractures. In fact, injuries have become so common that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 16 don’t ride these types of scooters because of the risk of serious injury.
Motorized and e-bikes have similar safety issues as these electric and motorized scooters. But studies have shown (and my own experience with patients has confirmed) that parents don’t tend to insist their children wear helmets as much when they are riding a scooter vs a bike. Images and videos on Facebook and TikTok may show riders not wearing helmets which further discourages some parents from insisting on helmet usage. Helmets are a child’s best friend when preventing injury from these motorized devices. Make wearing a helmet non-negotiable when allowing your child to ride e-scooters or e-bikes.
As far as e-bikes, it is always important to be sure your child can handle a non-motorized bike first and is skilled at riding it before introducing the e-bike. The type of e-bike is important as well – class 1 and class 2 3-bikes go slower than 20 miles per hour, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that children 9-12 only ride e-bikes that have a top speed of 10 mph.
How do you keep your child safe on these types of transportation? Again, insist on helmet usage – it will save your child’s life. Closed-toe shoes are also a must as is protective gear. Make sure you take care of the batteries of e-bikes and e-scooters – they must be charged often, and they do present a higher risk of fire and explosion, so always be present when they are charging – never while you are sleeping. Teach your child the rules of the road, and ride with them until they are experts on how to ride these vehicles on the road. (Riding on a sidewalk puts pedestrians at risk of injuries as well as the riders). For e-bikes, make sure they ride on the right, in the same direction as traffic, and insist they respect stop signs and traffic lights just like the cars around them. Make sure they don’t use headphones or text while riding – they cannot be as attentive to their environment when they do so. Discourage them from taking passengers on the back of the e-bike or e-scooter, because it becomes much more difficult to control the vehicle when they have that extra weight in the back.
These e-bikes and e-scooters are great to ride, and with a little preparation and insistence on safety measures, your child will enjoy many hours of fun on them!