Researchers examining skateboarding-related injuries data from 1990 to 2008 note that, on average, 64,572 children and adolescents were treated in emergency departments across the US each year—that’s about 176 per day.

The researchers, from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, examined the data for youth and adolescents age 5 to 19 years old. The study was published recently online by Injury Epidemiology.

A media release from Nationwide Children’s Hospital breaks down the numbers: Most patients were male (89%), and were injured either at home (38%) or in the street and/or highway (30%). The most commonly injured body regions were the upper (45%) and lower (32%) extremities.

The most common diagnoses were fractures or dislocations (33%), sprains and strains (25%) and bruises (20%). Children and adolescents 11-14 years of age were hospitalized more often than younger or older children/adolescents. Lower extremity injuries increased with age, while face and head or neck injuries decreased with age.

“Skateboarding can be a fun recreational and competitive activity,” says Lara McKenzie, PhD, the study’s lead author and principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in the release.

“However, wheeled sports that require balance and take place on hard surfaces are more likely to result in higher rates of injury. Keep your kids safer by making sure they wear protective gear like helmets, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads,” she adds.

Other safety tips from McKenzie and other safety experts, according to the release, include: make it a rule that kids cannot skateboard without wearing a helmet, wrist guards, and elbow and knee pads; be aware of uneven riding surfaces like cracks and potholes, and avoid riding in or near traffic; and ensure children between the ages of 6 and 10 have an adult with them every time they skateboard.

[Source(s): Nationwide Children’s Hospital, EurekAlert]