JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a teenager died Saturday night following a fall from an electric skateboard in Clay County, a child safety advocate offered a warning for parents.
Troopers said the 14-year-old from Green Cove Springs, who died at the hospital, was not wearing a helmet when he fell from the skateboard on Plantation Ridge Parkway near Evening Breeze Lane just after 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Jessica Winberry, the prevention coordinator for Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Northeast Florida, a coalition dedicated to child safety, said she is familiar with incidents like this.
She acknowledged that children tend to be more active outdoors during the summer months with longer daylight hours and no school.
Winberry warned that teens often feel more independent, but they run the same risks of injury even when they’re close to their homes while playing outside.
“That’s something that we see sometimes even with little kids,” Winberry said. “We’re just kind of riding in our cul-de-sac or something, but we still run the same risk of injury no matter where we are.”
She advised that children, no matter the age, should wear proper protection whenever they ride electric devices, and a standard bicycle helmet isn’t a catch-all, she pointed out.
“When you purchase either a bike or a scooter or a skateboard, make sure you’re purchasing the correct type of safety device that goes with that,” Winberry said. “A bike helmet may not be adequate for a different type of equipment that we’re riding.”
The FHP report did not indicate how the teen was injured in the fall.
It also does not name or specify the electric skateboard’s brand.
However, in February, a Tampa man filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough County Circuit Court against Future Motion Inc., the creator of the OneWheel electric skateboard. The suit claims the user was severely injured after being thrown from his board.
In May 2020, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Texas against the company. That suit claims a man died when the board abruptly stopped mid-ride.
Electric skateboards run safety risks across the board.
In 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of Boosted electric-powered skateboards because its lithium-ion battery pack made it a fire hazard.
Winberry advised checking the CPSC website for the proper types of devices to use with the activity your child is doing. You can also find more information about child safety at https://www.wolfsonchildrens.com/about/safe-kids-northeast-florida.
“Any time we’re doing any activity whether it’s riding our bike, riding our skateboard, heading out to the river, heading out to the beach, it’s a great idea just to get an idea of what types of things we need to be cautious of as parents because when it comes to our kids there are just so many different types of injuries that are related to every activity that we do and so to be prepared for what those types of things can be can really help us out with keeping our kids safe,” Winberry said.