Head and Neck Injuries and Electronic Scooter Use in the United States

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The Laryngoscope


OBJECTIVE: To quantify electric scooter injuries encountered in United States emergency departments, focusing on the head and neck, to understand the safety impact of these scooters to improve safe usage.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional study from January 2009 to December 2019 of patients presenting to United States emergency departments with electric scooter injuries collected from a national database. About 2,823 cases of injuries were related to electric scooter use from January 2009 to December 2019. Stratified weighted counts and incidence rates were estimated for injury characteristics. Piecewise linear regression quantified the yearly change in incidence of injuries before and after introduction of rideshare programs.

RESULTS: The estimated national total of electric scooter cases from 2009 to 2019 was 103,943 (95% CI: 79,650-128,237). Incidence grew in 2019 to 8.63 cases per 100,000 person-years from 4.46 in 2018 to 2.42 in 2017. Head and neck injuries represented 28.5% of total injuries (weighted estimate = 29,610). The most common age group of head and neck injuries before 2018 was ≤17 years, but injuries in 18- to 44-year-olds grew significantly to become the most injured group in 2018 to 2019 (P < .001). From 2009 to 2017, incidence of head and neck injuries fell by 0.02 cases per 100,000 person-years, but cases grew by 1.22 cases per 100,000 person-years post-2017 (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Injuries following the launch of rideshare electric scooter programs increased significantly, especially in patients 18 to 44 years of age. Head and neck injuries represent many of these injuries. User safety education must be addressed to prevent injury as programs become more pervasive in the United States.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level 2 Laryngoscope, 2021.

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ePub ahead of print