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Safety With Scooters

This is an excerpt from Scooter Games by Tony Larson.

Before beginning any scooter activity, assess your surroundings. Check to see if your area is free of obstructions. Children seem to gravitate toward potentially dangerous areas. Inform the players of their boundaries and keep them a safe distance from walls and doors. When possible, use protective mats on corners or in areas where players will be changing directions.

Manufacturers recommend that players not stand on scooter boards; using it as a skateboard will eventually result in injury. Students should wear tennis shoes during play. Encourage players to tuck in any loose clothing, remove jewelry and scarves, and have them tie back long hair when they're lying on scooters. One time, I saw a first grade girl who was on her hands and knees with her head turned sideways like she was listening to her scooter. As I walked over to her, I could hear her asking for help. I knelt down to take a closer look and could see her long hair wrapped around the scooter wheel. To make matters worse, there were multiple scooters attached together and the other students were oblivious to the problem. I spent a few minutes trying to untangle her hair and realized I would have to use scissors to free her hair from the scooter. This little girl was very brave and wanted me to share with her classmates what could happen if you have long hair.

Teach children how to position their hands. Players will often have their hands positioned around the outside of the handles, which can lead to hand injuries. Players should not place their fingers in the center holes of the scooter, and they should not drag their hands on the floor.

Once play begins, players should stay away from walls, and no scooter-to-scooter contact should be allowed. Players pushing scooters should have their heads up, watching where they are going, with hands placed inside the protective handles. Warn players that scooters can tip if their body weight is too far forward. After consulting with our school health clerk and looking back at health records, she confirmed that tipping forward on the scooter was the most common scooter injury, causing injury to the head or face area. Players should not let go of a moving scooter; this can also result in injury.

Instruct the players to push on a partner's shoulder blade area; they should avoid the head and neck area. I think a catalog company should contact manufacturers to devise a scooter push-bar attachment that would allow students to push each other on the scooter without contacting the shoulder area. Remind them to make sure their partners are ready before they begin to push or pull, and to stop immediately if the rider loses her balance.

Warn players to control their legs and sticks when they are playing specific games such as scooter hockey and scooter soccer. Do not allow high stick swings. During relay activities, allow enough room for deceleration. Give players enough time to learn and practice new skills, and make sure they receive plenty of turns on a scooter. Most importantly, always supervise activities!

This is an excerpt from Scooter Games.