Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Come on everybody, wear your rollerskates today...

I have to admit that the idea for this post came from a coworker (yes, people I work with read the blogs) and given my recent criticism of the Examiner I debated whether I should pile on, but it's just too easy.

Here, with appropriate bolding, is the latest reason to fear for the safety of our (well, your) children:

Roller shoes are the craze among kids but involve great risk without proper protection.

Local hospitals, including the University of Maryland Hospital for Children and Howard County General Hospital, haven't seen many cases in their emergency rooms. In fact, Sinai Hospital hasn't seen any cases.

Dr. Richard Lichenstein, director of pediatrics in the emergency room at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children, has seen a few cases, but nothing major. While he's seen mainly scrapes and bruises, colleagues have seen head injuries, he said.

"If you [the parents] really are observant, prudent and observe its use … [you] can prevent a trip to the ER," he said.

Dr. Jackson Tsai, a pediatrician at Howard County General Hospital, also hasn't seen many cases. He has seen bumps and scratches, as well as wrist and elbow injuries. Roller shoes aren't as damaging as skateboards, he said, but that doesn't mean proper protection should be forgotten when wearing the shoes.

He recommends protective gear and also attributes the lack of protective gear worn by children to their parents. He is "not a fan for [the shoes]."

Neither are shopping malls, which have started to ban the shoes, Lichenstein said.

"They are so fun, but can be so dangerous," he said.
The evidence presented doesn't really support the claim in the opening sentence. Sure, roller shoes can cause accidents, but "great risk" seems like a sensationalistic overstatement, which are unfortunately not uncommon in the Examiner. As a new(ish) paper competing with the hegemonic Sun, I understand the desire to attract readers with eye-grabbing headlines and ledes, but one hopes just as much emphasis would be put on attracting those looking for substance, too.