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Call to boost scooter safety

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

A child safety advocate has stressed the importance of scooter safety after a 5-year-old boy from Carterton was flown to hospital with facial injuries on Wednesday evening.

Though the details of the boy’s scooter accident have not been confirmed, and it is not known whether the boy was wearing a helmet, Safekids Aotearoa director Anne Weaver said it highlighted the importance of “safe scootering”.

“Even though it’s a very sad way to raise the issue when someone has been hurt, it’s just important to get the message out there about safety,” Ms Weaver said.

“Of course, helmets are a big thing.

“There is helmet legislation for everybody on bikes, but unfortunately it doesn’t include scooters or skateboards.

“That’s something Safe kids has always advocated for – there should be an amendment to the legislation to include helmets for children on skateboards and scooters as well.”

She said scooter injuries had been on the rise over the last decade with fractures to the upper limbs, the head, and facial injuries being the most common outcomes.

“In 2008 I think there were 697 claims to ACC of children aged 0-14, and in 2012 that had gone up to 6474,” Ms Weaver said.

“It just takes one fall the wrong way to end up with a traumatic brain injury, which could impact on them the rest of their lives.”

The 5-year-old Carterton boy was initially taken to the Carterton Medical Centre, but was later flown to Wellington Hospital by Life Flight Rescue Helicopter with moderate injuries.

A Wellington Free ambulance spokeswoman said because the injury was to the boy’s head, paramedics had erred on the side of caution.

Yesterday, the boy was in a stable condition at Wellington Hospital.

ACC senior media advisor Stephanie Melville said there were just under 5000 scooter related injuries reported last year involving children under the age of 14.

She said ACC wanted to ensure scootering was about “fun not falls”.

“Always remember to ask your young scooter and skateboard riders ‘Got your helmet on?’” she said.

“If kids use the right protective gear, wear brightly-coloured clothing and ride in safe environments, this will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

“Suffice to say we strongly recommend wearing a helmet at all times, when riding a manual scooter or skateboard.

“However as a ‘no-fault’ scheme, choosing not to wouldn’t have any bearing on a cover decision.”

 

*For scooter safety advice and tips on wearing helmets correctly visit www.safekids.nz

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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