Scooter safety

child having the condition is about 20 percent. The primary age of onset for this condition is between 10 and 15 years of age, occurring more often in girls.

Fortunately, four out of five children with scol-iosis have curves of less than 20 degrees, which are barely noticeable to the untrained eye and are no cause for concern, provided they show no sign of further progression. However, in growing children and adolescents, mild curvatures can worsen quite rapidly (10 degrees or more in a few months). Therefore, for this age group, frequent checkups are important.

Cause

Most cases of childhood scoliosis are "idiopathic," which means the cause is unknown. Scoliosis usually develops in middle or late childhood, before puberty, and is seen more often in girls than boys. Although scoliosis can occur in children with diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida, most scoliosis is found in otherwise healthy youngsters.

Symptoms

Scoliosis can go unnoticed in a child because it is rarely painful in the early years. Symptoms begin to appear when a child is about eight years of age and include:

• uneven shoulders

• prominent shoulder blade or shoulder blades

• elevated hips

Treatment

Treatment is different for every child and depends on a variety of factors, including the history of sco-liosis in the family, the age at which the curve began, the curve's location, and its severity. Most spine curves in children with scoliosis remain small and need only to be watched by a doctor for any sign of worsening. if a curve does worsen, a brace can be used to prevent it from getting worse. Children undergoing treatment with braces can continue to participate in the full range of physical and social activities.

Electrical muscle stimulation, exercise programs, and manipulation have not been found to improve scoliosis. if a curve is severe when first diagnosed or if treatment with a brace does not control the curve, surgery may be necessary. in these cases, surgery has been found to be a highly effective and safe treatment.

scooter safety Scooters are associated with an increased risk of injury, particularly in young children, which is why children under age eight should not use them without adult supervision, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Young children do not have the developmental skills required for safe scooter riding, including balance, coordination, good judgment, and a realistic sense of their own dexterity and strength.

Scooter-related injuries (primarily fractures or head injuries) accounted for more than 84,400 emergency room visits in 2001—more than double the number of injuries from the previous year. Most injuries were caused when riders fell from the scooter. Fractures and dislocations accounted for 29 percent of the injuries and 85 percent of the injuries occur in children less than 15 years old. Most fractures and dislocations involved the upper extremities.

To reduce the risk of injury, the AAP suggests that children who ride scooters should:

• always wear helmets that meet safety standards, as well as knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards

• never ride in the street or anywhere near traffic

• never ride on wet pavement or surfaces that have sand, gravel, or dirt

• avoid steep hills, slippery/uneven surfaces, and crowded walkways/streets

• obey traffic signs

• wear sturdy shoes and never wear sandals or flimsy footwear

• be familiar with the steering, handling, and brake system

The AAP also recommends that children younger than 10 not use skateboards unsupervised, and

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