Craze for scooters and wooden floors bring steep rise in accidents

The popularity of wood flooring and the craze for micro-scooters has led to a steep rise in the number of accidents.

Some 19,700 people were injured while using scooters in 2002 compared with 2,200 in 1998, figures highlighted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) showed yesterday. Some manufacturers were forced to recall scooters after children trapped their fingers in the folding mechanism, while other riders were hurt or killed on pavements and roads.

Rospa said the figures, taken from a Department of Trade and Industry report, were evidence that fashion crazes were prompting more mishaps.

Another 12,300 people were hurt in falls on wood floors, which are becoming increasingly popular. In 1998 there were just 2,900 such accidents, although falls on carpets also rose in the same period.

And changing cooking habits fuelled an increase in microwave accidents from 1,800 to 2,700, while injuries from conventional cooker hobs fell.

Roger Vincent, a Rospa spokesman, said manufacturers should be paying more attention to safety when designing new products. He said: "With some of the smaller scooters that came out there were problems with design and there were recalls because children were getting their fingers trapped.

"We still need people to give clear instructions on how things should be used and to design with safety in mind in the first place, trying to think how the product might be used." But he added: "Some of it may be down to misuse. Some people don't listen to the warnings and they think it won't happen to them."

An estimated 2.7 million people attended hospital after domestic mishaps in 2002, and 2.8 million following accidents away from the home. Children continued to have the most accidents with nearly 900,000 hurt in 2002, almost 500,000 of them under five.

Among the more unusual categories in the report were trouser-related mishaps (up from 5,000 in 1998 to 9,400 in 2002), zip-fly accidents (down slightly to 700) and injuries from high-heeled and platform shoes (down from 15,000 to 8,500).