'Heelys': Danger Mixes With Fun

"Heelys," the sneakers that turn into roller skates, are so popular that shoe stores can hardly keep up with the demand.

But, reportsCBS News Correspondent Mika Brzezinski, they can be dangerous.

Brzezinski says you might call it the "walk and roll" generation, in which millions of kids are head over heels for Heelys.

Parents have bought more than 4 million of the $60-$100 items for children as young as 5, Brzezinski points out.

A wheel pops into the heel, and the sneaker becomes a skate, ready to roll just about anywhere.

Many malls and schools have banned Heelys, due to safety concerns.

"If sales are booming," says pediatrician Dr. Steven Krug of Chicago Children's Memorial Hospital, "we will see more injuries in our emergency departments. The injury that we fear the most are head injuries."

He observes that, because Heelys are often sold in shoe stores, many parents assume they're as safe as sneakers. But one wrong move on a slick tile surface, such as those in schools and malls, can result in injuries.

Brzezinski spoke with Valerie Poston of San Diego, whose nine-year-old daughter, Katrina, suffered a concussion when she lost her balance wearing Heelys at a mall.

"It just didn't dawn on me that they were so dangerous," Valerie told Brzezinski, adding she never thought twice about letting her girls wear Heelys.

Katrina's sister says, "My sister took a few steps, and then her foot just slipped out from under her and she just fell back."

"We both heard the big thump, terrible, terrible thump," says Valerie, "and we came running and found her on the floor crying, holding the back of her head."

Now, it's no Heelys for the Poston girls unless they're wearing helmets.

"They should put more of a warning out that the skates, they're not tennis shoes, and you shouldn't be shopping with them," asserts Valerie.
  • Brian Dakss

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