Spring Shifts Kids’ Sports Into High Gear, CPSC and Chicago White Sox Encourage Use of Safety Gear

April 23, 2008
Release Number: 08-252

Spring marks the annual kickoff for children’s outdoor sports. As snow boots are being stored away and bicycles, inline skates and scooters are brought out, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is teaming up with the Chicago White Sox to urge kids to put on their helmets and safety gear.

CPSC and the Chicago White Sox are reminding parents and caregivers that when it comes to certain outdoor activities, helmets and safety gear are important for kids. That means putting on a helmet when riding a bicycle or when up to bat in baseball, and wearing a helmet, knee and elbow pads for skateboarding.

At a press conference today with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord stated, “Wearing a helmet and safety gear is good common sense. It can keep your child on the sports field and out of the emergency room.”

CPSC data show that the rate of sports-related injuries is most often highest for kids age 10 to 14. The exception is for children age 5 to 9 who have a higher rate of injuries involving unpowered scooters.

Bicycling topped the list for injuries to children in 2006, with nearly 240,000 emergency room-treated injuries.

Wearing a bicycle helmet while biking, for example, can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CPSC data also showed that there were nearly 221,000 football emergency room-treated injuries, 85,000 baseball injuries, and 65,000 skateboard injuries to children younger than 15 in 2006.

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were involved in the most deaths, 149 in 2004, to children under 15. Bicycles were involved in 77 deaths in the same age group. There were four deaths of children involving skateboards.

At the press conference, Chicago White Sox catchers A.J. Pierzynski and Toby Hall handed out free bicycle helmets to students from McClellan Elementary School, a public school on Chicago’s south side. The helmets were donated to the students by Bell Sports Inc.

“As a catcher, I always wear all of my safety gear, rain or shine, hot or cold. I encourage kids to do the same whatever their sport. It can save their lives.” said Pierzynski.

“It’s also important to make sure your safety gear fits right. Make sure there are no loose straps and that your helmet is on correctly so it can protect you,” added Hall.

Nord announced that the Chicago White Sox and McClellan Elementary School are joining CPSC’s Neighborhood Safety Network (NSN), a network of 5,500 grassroots organizations. CPSC offers free safety information to the public through the NSN, an initiative designed to assist local organizations in providing lifesaving information to underserved members of their communities.

Estimated Emergency Department Treated Injuries (2006) and Reported Fatalities (2004) For Youths Under Age 15.


Activity Category


Estimated Injuries
For Injured Victim Most Frequent Percent Associated with

Reported 2004 Fatalities
Gender
Injured Body Part(s)
DiagnosisHead, Face, Eyes, Mouth, or EarsHospitalization or worse1
Baseball 84,878 Male (86.1%) face contusions/abrasion 48.9% * 0
Softball 27,510 Female (90.9%) face, finger contusions/abrasion 29.6% * 0
Bicycles (including mountain bicycles) 239,795 Male (70.0%) face, head contusions/abrasion 33.9% 4.2% 77
ATVs** 32,875 Male (65.0%) Head, face fracture or contusion/abrasion 25% 12.9% 149
Scooters, unpowered 37,574 Male (55.6%) face, wrist, lower arm fracture 33.2% * 2
Skateboards 65,130 Male (86.5%) wrist,lower arm,ankle fracture 20.5% 2.9% 4
Football 220,877 Male (94.1%) finger fracture or strain/sprain 12.5% 2.2% 2
Lacrosse 5,393 Male (73.3%) finger, lower arm, wrist contusions/abrasion * * 0
Inline skating*** 18,712 Female (50.6%) wrist, lower arm fracture 9.6% * 2
Roller Skating*** 28,559 Female (64.4%) wrist fracture 7.8% * 1

Source: CPSC Epidemiological Data Bases

* Sample size or estimated variance does not meet reporting criteria.
** Methodologies detailed in the 2006 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries (CPSC, February 2008).
*** Adjusted to include a proportionally allocated share of injuries coded skating, not specified.
1 Includes cases treated and transferred to another hospital, treated and admitted for hospitalization within the same facility, held for observation, or fatality including death on arrival or in the ED.